SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– The University of Sioux Falls Cougars were in Missouri the day the sports world came to a halt.
The Cougars had just finished a shoot around when the heartbreaking news came from the NCAA offices.
“There was the news on and tweets were going how that everything was kind of getting canceled because of the coronavirus. At the time I thought, “there was no way, this isn’t that serious of a thing, like why aren’t people just washing their hands, like this is nothing.’ And then the NBA got canceled and you think to yourself if the NBA gets canceled, how is a little Division II tournament not gonna get canceled?” USF Senior Mariah Szymanski said.
“Going to shootaround, I not for a moment had that thought on the court. I did not for a moment think that this was going to be my last time on the court and I shot my last shot like I always do and looking back on it now it’s crazy that that was my last shot on the court, and everything about that day was just so surreal,” USF Senior Jacey Huinker said.
The Cougars historic season had come to a heartbreaking end. Despite the tragic ending, the Cougars still boasted an impressive 26-6 record while claiming their first-ever regular season NSIC South title.
“It’s just so surreal talking about this because these last couple of weeks have been so hard and just a weird ending, but it’s nice to look back at all the things we did do that was positive,” Huinker said.
“You can’t take this one negative of how it ended, especially with all the positives that we’ve had. This year was so memorable and we made history in a lot of different ways. Along with that we just had so much fun and that can’t be taken away at all,” USF Senior Kaely Hummel said.
ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt continued his adventure on historic senior seasons, a feature that runs on ESPN’s late night show and USF’s seven seniors found their way to ESPN on Tuesday night.
“It was so cool! I mean the whole night, I was like, “we’re going to be on ESPN, oh my goodness it’s happening.” Obviously, a lot of people don’t get that and obviously the season isn’t how we wanted it to end, but it made it a little bit better being on ESPN for sure,” Hummel said.
“I have kind of watched a few episodes before and it was so cool and the fact that I saw him tweet yesterday and we were going to be one of those people,” Hunker said.
After spending four years together, this USF Cougar team has become used to their unique behavior.
“I would describe this team as goofy like we can all say a couple of things that we do before games but that’s just what makes our team so special,” Hummel said.
“The rituals that we have before the games or the dancing after the games, that’s what I will remember. I won’t remember did we beat that team, how good I played, I don’t know but that’s what I will remember from USF,” Szymanski said.
The Cougars may be remembered for their fun times, but this USF team will always be remembered for their talents on the court.
“I think a word that describes this group both on and off the court is super versatile. We could not have a more different group of girls, we have so many different personalities off the court and on the court, we have so many different talents. We’ve got incredible shooters and we’ve got great defenders and everything in between. You could not ask for a more different group of girls and the way we work together was just incredible,” Huinker said.