Lady Warriors go far at Nationals, achieve undefeated regular season

The Lady Warriors were defeated in Round 16 of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Championship, finishing the 2020-21 Season with a record of 30-1. 

This would mark the last ride for three seniors: Alexis Theus, Kylah Comley,and Brenna Eilert. It was a tough first half ending with the 14 ranked Dakota State Lady Trojans leading 53-33. 

The Lady Warriors had some bright moments but not enough to secure a lead.

In the final result, The lady Trojans beat Sterling 91-77. Theus had fifteen points, seven rebounds. 

Junior Emmiley Hendrixson chipped in 15 points. junior Syndney Bangert added 12 of her own. Comley, a three time All-American had six assists in the game. 

Head Coach K.C. Bassett noted even though it wasn’t the result that she and her girls were looking for, there still was joy in reflecting on the season. “Nationals was different this year than what we have had the chance to experience in the past. Because they combined both DI and DII into 1 division, they had an opening round site and then the top 16 teams went on to Sioux City. It was amazing to win and move on to Sioux City. Sioux City is such a special place- they treat us like royalty up there,” Bassett said. “Losing is always hard- especially after a season like we had. I know I did not want it to end- as we know though all good things must come to an end. There was definitely sadness in losing but also great joy when we had a chance to reflect on the season overall.”

After defeating Columbia University 70-54 in the second round of the NAIA Women’s Basketball Championships, the Lady Warriors punched their ticket to Sioux City, South Dakota for Round 16 of the 2021 NAIA Women’s Basketball Championship.

The Lady Warriors had a great 2021 campaign, hitting major victory milestones throughout the season. 

Comely hit her 2000th career point, making her the third lady Warrior to ever do so.

The Lady Warriors collected many accolades at the end of the season.

Comley and junior Bailey Bangert were recognized by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, as Comley recieved her fourth All-American Honor and B. Bangert was collected her first All- American Honorable Mention.

Bassett was also named the 2021 WBAC NAIA Coach of the Year.

For Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference All- Confernence Teams, Comley and B. Bangert were awarded First Team.

Theus was selected to the Second Team.

Hendrixson and sophomore Taya Wilson were to the Third Team, and Wilson was also on the All- Defensive Team.

Head Coach K.C. Bassett also recieved Conference accolades , as she was selected as 2021 KCAC Women’s Coach Coach of the Year.

However, the most important accomplishment of the year was both securing the 2021 Regular Season KCAC Conference Championship, with an undefeated record in conference, and being named the 2021 KCAC Tournament Champion after defeating Tabor College 86-78.

This marked Sterling’s first championship under Bassett and the first time the Lady Warriors had claimed the title since the 2011-12 season.

Basset was pleased at the work that her ladies had put in this season. 

“This season was truly magical. We set goals for ourselves before the season started and we achieved all of them, not many teams can say that at the end of the season. I am so incredibly proud of my team. Each and everyone of them worked hard to make us better. All the credit of our season goes to my team and coaching staff. To be 30-1 and go undefeated playing some great teams is truly unbelievable.”

The Lady Warriors will be losing three key players allowing many to step up and fill their absence.

Comely reflects on what she has learned all four years playing at Sterling. 

“I learned and was shown how essential it is to love your teammates and love playing together. This came easy with the team this year and I am thankful that while we were extremely successful, we were also able to truly enjoy one another,” she said. 

Theus described this season as being bittersweet.

“I learned not to take anything for granted and to just be blessed with the people around you,” she said. “Also being able to not to define myself as a basketball player. This season was special because of everything we had achieved this year and one loss at nationals cannot replace this team’s achievements.” 

Eilert reflected on her basketball career as a lifetime of solid memories.

“I always knew Sterling was a special place and I would be able to make memories, both on and off the court, that would last a lifetime,” Eilbert said. “As a Lady Warrior, I have truly gained a second family who I have had the opportunity to experience some incredible team accomplishments with that I will never forget.”

Bassett realizes that this season would not have not been near as special without the support of the Sterling Warrior community, family, friends, fans and alumni.

“I  would just like to thank everyone for the love and support that you have shown our program. One of the things I tell our recruits what sets us apart from other schools is the family-like atmosphere that we are a part of, “Bassett said. “Thank you for all the love you have shown us.”

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