It's Monday morning. The sun came up. Classes are resuming after spring break week. The world did not end with yesterday's loss to Florida State. We will move forward.
In the end, FSU's size proved to be too much for the Bulldogs. FSU took us out of our game and managed to score almost at will from just about everywhere on the court. It was a very physical game and just wasn't meant to be for Samford.
But, some final reflections on the great season for the Samford Bulldogs. As senior Emily London said in the post-game press conference: "It was a year to remember."
The team ended the year with the most victories in school history -- 25.
Seniors Emily London and Savannah Hill said as freshmen that their goal was to win a conference championship and go to the NCAA tournament. Mission accomplished.
The ended their careers with 93 victories. They made the conference tournament semifinals four times (in two different conferences) and finals twice.
Emily ended her career with several records, including leading scorer and most three-pointers made. Savannah ended her career as third best scorer in school history.
Emily led the nation this year in free throw percentage. First time ever for a Samford player.
Both Emily and Savannah will graduate on time in May -- Emily with a degree in public relations and Savannah with a degree in nursing -- reflecting the true importance of what they accomplished at Samford. Emily hopes some day to get into coaching or athletics administration. At the post-game press conference, Coach Morris noted what an outstanding individual she is and said that he has joked that some day he expects to be working for her.
Samford was second in the SoCon in average attendance for women's basketball. There's an old adage that says "if you win, they will come," and that apparently was true this season. For the NCAA tournament game, Samford sold more than 400 tickets through its ticket office, and several other fans bought tickets at the walk-up ticket window in Auburn. Samford obviously had the largest fan base in the arena on Sunday, and despite the loss, you've got to believe that some of those first-time fans will be back to see the Bulldogs play in future seasons.
About 100 fans, including many family members, waited outside the arena after the game and greeted each emerging player and coach with rousing applause.
New Samford athletics director Martin Newton made an overnight trip from Tampa, where he was at the NCAA men's tournament with the University of Kentucky team (his current employer), to be at the game. He was greeted warmly by Samford fans and was very present in the team locker room and post-game press conference. He'll start his new job as soon as Kentucky ends its run in the tournament.
The first-round loss can't diminish what this team accomplished. These players can go forward with the confidence that they accomplished a true first for Samford women's basketball:
A CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON!