By Taylor Lupetti: There was a sentimental feeling that resonated throughout the Event Center last night as San Jose State seniors Dezz Ramos, Jasmine Smith, Paris Baird and Rachol West took the court for the final time.
Adrenaline pushed the Spartans forward without retreating but the win slipped away in the third quarter as SJSU (10-20, 7-11 MW) ultimately lost 68-59 against the Wyoming Cowgirls. (21-8, 13-5 MW)
Emotions ran high as the seniors walked on the court with their families to be recognized for the time and dedication they put in as Spartan athletes.
The players gathered for a pre-game huddle with their arms around each other for the last time on their home court where they recorded themselves doing their pre-game chant, a tradition that was a last for the seniors.
Knowing that it was their last home game, the seniors were hungry for open shots and were calling out for the ball whenever possible.
Senior guard Rachol West spoke on the emotions of the game and the end of her four-year career with the SJSU.
“A lot of people say it’s bitter-sweet but it’s more bitter than anything,” West said post-game. “These are the people that I see every day. On the road, we all sleep in the same room, eat meals together — we do everything together. It’s going to be a big change. It’s kind of like separation anxiety.”
Coming in as head coach in 2013, Jamie Craighead watched her first class of freshmen retire as Spartans. Craighead came in after the scouting for the 2013 season had been completed to where neither coach nor players knew who they were going to be dealing with.
Her postgame interview revealed how much the last four years and her players have meant to her.
“I actually started getting choked up before the game talking to them,” Craighead said. “Less after because I knew how disappointed they would be in the locker room.”
There’s still more to come, however. These seniors aren’t ready to say their final “good-byes” yet as SJSU will compete in the Mountain West Conference Tournament.
The Spartans lost in the quarterfinals last season.
The transition from losing four of their highest-scoring players is not met with hesitation from Craighead. When asked about what the team is going to look like next season without the seniors, she appeared optimistic.
“I hope that people doubt our ability to win with freshmen and sophomores because we will prove people wrong.”
SJSU is the #8 seed in the MW tourney where it will face #9 San Diego State. Game time is set for 2 p.m. on Monday.