FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - March 24th is officially the “University of Saint Francis Women’s Basketball Day” in Fort Wayne. After winning a national championship, the team is back in the Summit City and ready to celebrate. Monday afternoon, the city of Fort Wayne got the chance to congratulate the Lady Cougars and look back on a history-making season. Mayor Henry made the announcement on the USF campus.
“ We wanted to make it their special day. For the last several days and for the next few days, we’re lighting up the Martin Luther King Bridge in blue and white to recognize what these women did for the City of Fort Wayne,” said Mayor Henry.
It was a season of numbers for the women’s basketball team. 38 wins, zero losses, seventeen wins at home, fourteen on the road, and a number one ranking to top it all off.
“We went 10-0, 20-0, we saw we could do this and we got down to Iowa and we needed to win five more games and that’s what we did,” said senior Skylarr Shurn, a guard on the team.
It was a perfect season to say the least. Mayor Henry said the victory shows off Fort Wayne as a city for college sports.
“We’ve got about 25-30,000 college students in this community, and we want to keep them here. We want the next generation coming up to stay here in Fort Wayne and go to school here. I think this tells a lot of young women that they don’t have to go some place else to play sports. They can play here, they can be recognized here, and they can be part of a championship team,” said Mayor Henry.
The Lady Cougars beat College of the Ozarks 75 to 68 last Tuesday to clinch the Division II National Championship title.
“I usually don’t get nervous before games and that was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been around any kind of game. Once I started going, I had to get those first few minutes in and just shake it out and get my nerves out. After that, I said we got this,” said senior Kalah Baer, a forward on the team.
Mayor Henry said the victory is an accomplishment all Hoosiers should recognize.
“It’s not very often a college championship team comes out of Fort Wayne, so to make that kind of statement for our community is unbelievable. I’m very, very proud of them. The city of Fort Wayne is proud of them. In fact, the entire state of Indiana should be proud of them,” said Mayor Henry.
Head Coach Gary Andrews said he’s taking time to enjoy the victory and celebrations.
“It’s been very exciting, very rewarding, and a lot of fun. I’m just going to sit back and enjoy it. You never know if something like this can happen again. I really thought we could win it, but you just never know. In the game of basketball, the best team doesn’t always win. That’s the great thing about sports. You’ve got to go out there and earn it, and our kids really went out there and they earned it
The players said they are ready for some time off, but are looking forward to getting back on the court this summer.