1780 – The Official Blog of Transylvania University

1780 | The Official Blog of Transylvania University

National championship in the (note)cards for Transylvania women’s basketball team

people cheering

Transylvania women’s basketball players wrote their goals and dreams onto notecards now displayed on coach Juli Fulks’ office door.

According to a recent Lexington Herald-Leader article, the sentiment that shows up most this year is: “Win a national championship.”

With the Pioneers ranked No. 2 in the country and 29-0 on the season, that goal is no pipe dream.

Transylvania is hosting the Sweet 16 on Friday at 7 p.m., when the Pioneers take on No. 13 Ohio Northern — and then the Elite Eight on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. between the winner of that game and either No. 7 NYU or No. 22 Trine.

The first 200 Transylvania students and 50 faculty and staff who sign up here will get free tickets to Friday’s game in the Beck Center.

You can also watch live online.

Why is Transylvania so good? Good, as in having the best home conference win streak among any team — of any sport — in the NCAA, winning every one of these games since December 2017. “Fulks has built an NCAA Division III powerhouse in Lexington on the unconventional athletic foundations of science and grace,” according to the Herald-Leader. 

The head coach is, in fact, passionate about the field of neuroscience, especially when it comes to player communication. “The real project was using communication efficacy and leadership studies in helping them learn how to be more confident in their communication skills from a leadership perspective, and then adding math and science to all the science parts I had learned,” she said. “But none of that probably existed 15 years ago when I started this. The neuroscience piece is now, in the last three or four years, really taken off on what things actually matter to your brain in terms of leadership and trust.”

Also based on research, physical interactions like high-fives are encouraged.

As for the grace: “The players say that the Transylvania program has a ‘try-again culture.’ According to Fulks, giving grace when mistakes are made, or failure happens, allows for growth.”

The Herald-Leader also mentioned factors like mentoring, including the Pioneers’ interaction with guest coaches who are accomplished women in the community.

And there’s the strong bonds formed between players and coaches. “For example, at every practice, coaches speak with the players and call them by name, taking an active interest in players’ lives both in and out of basketball.”