Spartan Hoops Courtside: Seniors Honored at Their Last Home Game
Feb. 28, 2010
By Brittany McCormick, MSU Athletic Communications Student Assistant
Michigan State women's basketball seniors Lauren Aitch, Alyssa DeHaan, Aisha Jefferson and Mandy Piechowski took the court at the Breslin Center for their last home game of their collegiate careers in Sunday's Big Ten matchup against Minnesota. The Spartans defeated the Golden Gophers 70-50 in the final game of the regular Big Ten season to secure second place in the conference.
The class of 2010 has witnessed some incredible accomplishments at the court that they have called home for the past four years, from beating top seeded Duke in the 2009 NCAA tournament to advance to the Sweet 16 to DeHaan breaking the NCAA blocks record against Illinois. As the four captains of the team, the seniors have helped lead the squad to finish the regular season with an overall record of 21-8.
"There's a saying at Michigan State, that a Spartan's greatest strength is the warrior standing next to them and there couldn't have been four greater warriors for us to cheer for, four greater warriors for you guys to play for, than these four seniors," said head coach Suzy Merchant during her postgame address to the crowd during the senior day festivities.
The seniors partook in the MSU basketball senior tradition, which is to kiss the Spartan "S" as they exit the game for the last time. Merchant switched around some positions to make sure the four seniors were taken out of the game at the same time.
"It was a great feeling. It was an adrenaline rush. The crowd and everything that was involved, it was wonderful," Aitch said.
At the conclusion of the game, the seniors were honored for all of their hard work and dedication from over the past four seasons. They were escorted out onto the court by various family members and were each presented with a plaque that contained pictures from their time on the team. After a video played for each of the seniors highlighting their careers, they thanked the crowd and all of the fans for their continuous support.
"I love playing here and playing for this crowd and for the kids and the fans," DeHaan said. "It's something I'll never forget and it's made me who I am today."
While there is still plenty of basketball left for the seniors to play with both the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments, this last home game marks the beginning of the end for them.
"It's kind of bitter sweet. You don't want to leave this great atmosphere, this great time," said Aitch. "It's a wonderful place to be. But you know its time for us to go. We went out on the right note."
It would be an understatement to say that this senior class has talent. DeHaan is currently second all-time in NCAA Division I blocks with 499 and is only one of five Spartans to be in the top-10 in both career scoring (1,633) and rebounds (903). This season, Jefferson became the 11th Spartan to score over 1,000 points and record over 600 rebounds. Piechowski is 18th in 3-point shots made with 41. Aitch has won MSU's sixth player of the year award for the past two years and hit that unforgettable jumper with 1.8 seconds left against Purdue to win the final regular season home game last year.
Even though they all leave with their names in the record books, they also leave behind an impact on the program that will last forever.
Merchant said in regards to the seniors, "When you walk off this floor, playing for the last time, you've made some great memories for yourselves and great memories for all of us, so thank you very much. We love you and we're going to miss you."
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