There is just something special about Senior Night at a college basketball game. Or maybe only at schools that really appreciate these student athletes and recognize that they are also still college kids. I wonder though, how much it confuses the opponents?
Coach Hatchell starts the seniors on senior night if at all possible. For some it is the only start of their college career and some of those come out at the first dead ball since senior night is a conference game and there are no easy conference games.
Thursday night Laura Barry got her only start. She scored within the first minute of the game - her first points of the year by the stats I found online - which resulted in the bench jumping to their feet and a huge cheer from the crowd. Good for her, good for the team, and good for the crowd. She was wide open and her teammates got her the ball. My thought was that Miami (the opponent) wasn't really prepared for the different starting lineup. Laura stayed in the game until the first media timeout (almost 5 minutes) even after other substitutions. She must have been doing her job well in the coaches eyes as well as in mine.
I remember other years like that as well. With a senior reserve player with few minutes who started on senior night and scored the first basket. Sometimes the years blend together but my memory says it was Jennifer Nelms.
There were 8 seniors honoured this year. Two managers, the video coordinator, and five players: Alex Miller, who has ended her career after continued issues from last year's injury, and Laura Berry, Heather Claytor, Iman McFarland, and Rashanda McCants who all started.
The Carolina Fever (student fan group) was also very supportive. Near the end of the game, instead of the Lets-Go-Tar-Heels chant, they were chanting Thank-you-sen-iors. Though I still do not know what was up with the bright spandex leggings and off the shoulder sweatshirts that many were wearing.
Thank you Seniors for four wonderful years of fast paced team work.
Lets keep it going all the way to April!