Changing of the guard

While members of the BG women’s basketball team mourned the end of their historic season after a 67-49 loss to Arizona State, coach Curt Miller announced the start of a new season.

Miller brought juniors Kate Achter and Whitney Taylor front-and-center, saying “it’s your team now,” in an emotional passing of the torch from this senior class.

“This entire year it’s been about the seniors, about the seniors, about the seniors,” Achter said. “To bring up Whitney and I to say we’re going to be the one’s the take the seniors posts, it meant a lot to both of us.”

There’s no doubt the team will take on a different look next season, losing six seniors and possibly its coach, but that’s a challenge the incoming seniors are more than prepared to take on.

“It’s going to be a little difficult next year, but there’s going to be enough of us left to pass on our knowledge and teach them what it’s like to be at this level,” Achter said. “Hopefully we’ll give them a taste of what it’s like to be at this point and motivate them to get to this point.”

Both, Achter and Taylor gave a great deal of credit to the seniors, not just for what they did on the court, but for what they did off of it. It’s because of them, they say, that they’re ready to step up next year and take over the role as the team’s leaders.

“Ever since we’ve been here, [the seniors] have all been the leaders,” Taylor said. “But they’ve definitely taught us to lead since we’ve had such good examples.”

This team won 31 games this season – seven more than BG football, hockey or men’s basketball won combined – which has brought a new found respect for women’s basketball to the campus. The team has also received attention nationally, forcing women’s hoops fans to recognize the Falcons as a legitimate force in the tournament.

“We’ve made a name nationally now so we need to make sure we keep that up,” said freshman Laura Bugher. “Now that the torch has been passed to Kate and Whitney, they have some big shoes to fill, but I have confidence that they can.”

Due to this national recognition, the team is looking forward to next year, when they’ll come into the season with the respect they’ve worked so hard to earn.

“It’s definitely been our dream to bring our school to this level, so it will be really nice to play with that success now that people know who we are,” Taylor said.

Ultimately, everyone on the team has nothing but respect for the six seniors who helped to make the program what it is today.

“The seniors set the bar, and set the standard higher and higher when they came in,” said sophomore Lindsey Goldsberry. “They just continued to build the program to new levels.”

“They’re leaving the program in our hands and we have to do the most we can to leave it the way they left it,” Achter said.