The bus ride home after a loss can feel like an eternity. For the Niagara University women’s basketball team, that bus ride home turned into somewhat of a never-ending nightmare.
Lake-effect snow was wreaking havoc all over upstate New York, and the Niagara women were just a few of the storm’s victims.
The team bus was stuck in the snow on the New York State Thruway for nearly 30 hours, just 30 minutes from its campus, before being rescued by New York State Troopers.
“We have snacks, some granola bars and pretzels,” Niagara coach Kendra Faustin told the Associated Press in a phone interview before being brought to safety. “We found six bottles of water and have been rationing it. We thought we’d be here for a couple hours and a couple hours turned into 12 hours. It’s now 24 hours.”
The Niagara women were lucky. At least six people have been confirmed dead due to the record snowfall, with that number expected to increase.
Niagara’s athletic director Simon Gray confirmed their arrival back to campus on Wednesday via Twitter, saying “. @NiagaraWBB has safely returned to @NiagaraUniv. Perseverance personified. All those that assisted with the rescue effort are #Heroes.”
Faustin told ESPN that the bus had enough gas and power to last a few more days out there.
Some of the marooned players turned snow into drinking water to compensate for the six bottles that the team had.
While stranded, team members vocalized their stories on Twitter and other social media, uploading selfies and other pictures, such as pictures of all the snow that surrounded them.
“They really have been great; there’s no complaining at all,” Faustin said of the team. “They’ve been joking around: I want a steak, I want a soft taco, a Slurpee. There’s definitely nothing in the coaching handbook to prepare you for this.”
The Niagara women weren’t the first to get stuck in a snowstorm. Just last season, the Southern Illinois men’s basketball team was stranded for almost six hours—still nowhere near the 30 hours that the Niagara women were stuck—before getting rescued.
Up next on the schedule for Niagara is a game at the University of Buffalo on Nov. 22—where seven to nine feet of snow is expected before the storm surges are all said and done. Neither Niagara nor Buffalo have said if that game is still on as scheduled.
— Edited by Jordan Fox