Senior Huskies: leaving on a high note

By Danielle Brown

DeKALB — The women’s basketball team set a record for most Mid-American Conference wins with 12, and a big part of the resurgence has been because of the seniors — guard Ally Lehman and forwards Cassidy Glenn and Amber Gray.

The three seniors survived a coaching change after the 2014-15 season when Kathi Bennett resigned, according to a May 4 Northern Star article, and three losing seasons, including this past season’s 11-19 record, who won four conference games.

On Wednesday, the three seniors were honored before the game for their time, dedication and commitments to Huskie basketball, and all three were starters in their final game at the Convocation Center.

“What I’ve seen from them as far as growth is a reflection of the growth of the team,” said Head Coach Lisa Carlsen at Wednesday’s post-game press conference. “They’re going to give you everything they can, every minute on the floor, and when it is time to hang them up, they have no regrets, and I know this group will do that.”

Besides being teammates, the three seniors are roommates and best friends. They said it will be very difficult not hanging out all the time.

“I’m never going to forget any of the things we’ve done or been through,” Glenn said. “I’m always going to go back and look at those [pictures]. I’m going to miss the team aspect. They’ve all become my best friends, so it’s going to be weird not seeing them every day and not being a part of something.”

Glenn said she has many photos and videos on her cell phone of the team for when she misses them after graduation.

Lehman said she is proud of how resilient the team has been this season, coming back several times when this hadn’t been the case in previous years.

“Usually we would’ve given up, but I think that shows more heart than anything,” Lehman said.

Gray said she is proud to be a part of a record-breaking team and will miss a lot of the off-the-court antics, such as the team’s dance parties on the bus before road games.

Besides all the success, the girls discussed the lessons they learned from staff and from being on this team over the years.

“Coach Carlsen—what she actually taught me out of this was how you can know your players because it’s going to carry on to how I can lead my soldiers,” Lehman said.

Once these players graduate in May, they will head in separate directions.

Lehman said she will likely be going to the Army as part of the first wave of women allowed in the Army’s infantry, even though playing overseas has come up as an option.

“I’ll be a second lieutenant in the Army’s infantry,” Lehman said. “I will go to Fort Benning, Georgia. I have no idea when it’ll be — this summer hopefully.”

Glenn said she also thought about playing overseas but will likely attend graduate school if not.

“I haven’t talked to any teams yet, I don’t want to break any rules,” Glenn said. “I’m going to wait until I’m done here to figure it out.”

Graduate school is also the plan for Gray, as she plans to go for her master’s in Health Administration at either University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, a program in which she has already been accepted to, or Virginia Commonwealth University.

These seniors look to bring NIU a conference championship banner as they begin the MAC tournament after the first game concludes around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday against the winner of the No. 5 seeded Ohio University and No. 12 seeded Eastern Michigan University.