Before every game, the Appalachian State women’s basketball team begins by warming up and doing drills.
Their leaders, four seniors whose college basketball careers are coming to a close, give words of encouragement for every player on the team.
These seniors were honored Saturday for Senior Day.
Raven Gary, a guard from Chicago, possesses a dynamic personality on and off the court. She is described by her fellow teammates as someone who they can count on to defend them, no matter what the situation.
Gary has scored 281 points and dished out 150 assists so far in her two seasons at Appalachian.
“It went by so quickly, I don’t even feel like a senior,” Gary said. “It’s crazy.”
She has been an essential player on the team during the last two 20-win seasons and has dominated the playing field as App State’s guard.
Kelsey Sharkey has also proved to be a valuable asset to the Mountaineers during her career. Her teammates said they rely on Sharkey to make them laugh and she can always have a good time.
Sharkey said she couldn’t believe her Senior Day was already happening.
“This morning I woke up really jittery,” Sharkey said. “I didn’t think I’d be able to take it all in, but it’s here and it’s crazy.”
Sharkey currently ranks ninth among Appalachian’s all-time rebounders and is also sixth in steals, according to goasu.com.
In addition to her skills on the court, Sharkey has also put in a tremendous amount of work in the classroom. She was chosen as a first team All-Southern Conference Tournament member for her academics, and was named to SoCon’s Academic All-Conference.
Another senior is Courtney Freeman, a dual forward and guard, who is known by her teammates as someone who will tell them the truth, even if it’s not what they want to hear.
“It’s been a great four years and I hope we can extend it in March,” Courtney Freeman said.Courtney Freeman has 1,205 points and became the 22nd player to join Appalachian State’s 1,000 point club during her senior year, according to goasu.com.
Courtney Freeman has proven to be one of the most valuable players on the Mountaineer bench during her career. As working hard comes naturally to Courtney Freeman, she was able the graduate with her degree in business administration in just three and a half years with honors.
Anna Freeman, a forward from Thomasville, is seen by her teammates as a mother figure, someone who is ready to comfort and nurture a friend in need.
“Senior Day is a day of celebration,” Anna Freeman said. “[The coaches] were new when we came in and have done a good job of changing who we are as people, as well as basketball players.” Anna Freeman will end her career as Appalachian’s second all-time scoring and rebounding leader.
After four long years of helping the coaching staff turn a struggling program around, there is no doubt that a special era of women’s basketball at Appalachian is coming to an end.
Story: KAITLYN THRUSTON, Senior Sports Reporter
Photo: PAUL HECKERT, Photo Editor