What a week it was in St. Joseph, Mo., what a week indeed.
First off, congratulations to the Michigan Tech women's basketball team, that was an amazing run.
If you couldn't tell by the plethora of articles I put together on the trip (11), I had a lot of fun and they gave me plenty to write about.
I feel like I could have written 11 more, but because I don't want to make everyone sick of the Huskies, I'll just lay out a couple of the things I didn't get to say enough about:
Lucy Dernovsek. She's an amazing player. It shouldn't have been a shock to us, she actually saw a lot of time as a freshman, and when we did see her as a sophomore and junior, she was great. But she took it to a new high this year, and even though she didn't have a final game she'll want to remember, she still had an amazing season as the Huskies' go-to player. Her 17 points in the semifinal were a lot more important than I was able to credit her for, and her leadership all year was more than anyone could have asked. Also, Dernovsek and Lindsey Lindstrom were the go-to players for quotes this year and I can't say enough about how much easier they made my job.
Assistant coach Rae Drake. His knowledge of and experience in basketball were vital to the team all season. His coaching experience spans longer than head coach Kim Cameron has been alive, and that experience is something this team desperately needed with a first-year head coach and no returning starters. He's also a great person and was hands-down the best dressed person at the entire tournament last week, kudos to you Rae.
Athletic director Suzanne Sanregret. She made the right decision last summer when she hired Cameron as the next head coach, and that decision paid immediate dividends for the athletic program, the university and the community as a whole. Unfortunately the hiring of Tech's next hockey coach won't be nearly as easy a decision. Suzanne was in Missouri all week helping out the cause in every way possible, from emotional support to the team, to handing out t-shirts and towels to fans, it was great to see leadership that hands-on.
Kate Glodowski. I made a pretty big deal of it in the story, but I still can't stress enough how vital her two baskets in the semifinal were. That five-point swing was the turning point in the game, it was the hammer than ended Northwest Missouri State's season. She was so calm, cool and collected about the whole thing, even in the press conference with five cameras, four voice recorders and 30 people staring at her.
Huskies Pep Band. Pwnt. That's the only thing you can say to describe the pep band and their complete dominance of the crowd last week. Even with NMSU's huge advantage in people, its own pep band and a very impressive crowd of dancers/cheerleaders, the MTU pep band was still the highlight of the crowd. They were loud, proud and just as obnoxious as we all want them to be.
During that semifinal, they went head-to-head with the Bearcats band and won. Also, I appreciate the help with Copper Country Speaks. The Second-Best Feeling in the World was about to walk out for lunch when they stopped to help me out.
Missouri Western State University and the NCAA. The Midwest Regional tournament in Houghton was a great experience, and major props go to MTU for putting that together, but the show in St. Joseph, Mo., was equally impressive in organization, but on a much larger scale. They treated media junkies like me very professionally and provided a great atmosphere for the fans. Though the arena is small in the crowd size it can handle, it has all the feel of a big-time sports arena, especially with the way MWSU and NCAA officials put things together. Thank you for all the help and congratulations on a successful tournament.
The list goes on and on, from the play of Krista Kasuboski off the bench to the inspiring two-minute 'our fans are the best in the country' speech by Kim Cameron during the press conference after losing the championship, there was a lot to write about. Maybe the best news out of all of it, though, is that we're nowhere near being done with this program.
Sam Hoyt and Lindsey Lindstrom will be back next year, Lynn Giesler, Kasuboski and Glodowski have all played big minutes, the Huskies have a 6-foot-4 (two inches taller than all-conference post player Lisa Staehlin) redshirt freshman (Emily Harrison) playing next year and former GLIAC freshman of the year Emma Veach will make her debut in the Black and Gold next season.
Congratulations to the entire program for a great season and a bright future.