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Women's basketball seniors relish last career home game

February 22, 2018
Senior forward Taya Reimer (32) walks with her family after the women's basketball game against Wisconsin on Feb. 21, 2018 at Breslin Center. The Spartans defeated the Badgers, 69-61. (Annie Barker | The State News)
Senior forward Taya Reimer (32) walks with her family after the women's basketball game against Wisconsin on Feb. 21, 2018 at Breslin Center. The Spartans defeated the Badgers, 69-61. (Annie Barker | The State News) —
Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

Wednesday night was emotional for many in the Breslin Center as it was senior night for the women’s basketball team. 

With less than one minute to go in the fourth quarter, seniors Branndais Agee, Kiara Carter, Lexi Gussert, Kennedy Johnson and Taya Reimer kissed the Spartan logo before subbing out as they played their final home game of their careers at Breslin.

“I can’t really describe how much this senior class means to me,” sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon said. “They’re all special to me in their own way. I think that I can say about each and every one of them I could go at any point in time and talk to them about anything. 

"They were legitimately my sisters. That word is thrown around a lot, but I really think I could label them that.”

McCutcheon said the last couple of months have made the team a lot closer to each other than they were before because the team realized the seniors are leaving.

The Spartans celebrated the five seniors by presenting video tributes after the game where they reflected their time at MSU. Many of the seniors agreed traveling overseas and playing in Europe was the most memorable experience they've had.

“I’m going to miss the family, the fans for sure,” Agee said. “Just playing in front of so many people. You know you don’t get that anywhere else. I know when a lot of players finish here and play overseas or the WNBA, they don’t get as much support that college basketball does. That’s one thing I am going to miss for sure.”

Agee is the 26th Spartan to join the 1000th point club and finishes her career in the top-15 in points, rebounds and games played. Agee will look to pursue her career in kinesiology and hopes to play basketball professionally someday.

Gussert was the only one to address the crowd after the game, and said she "could not thank the fans enough for their support to her over these past four years." 

Gussert said her most memorable moment is beating Michigan for the final time at MSU. Gussert will graduate with a major in kinesiology and a minor in coaching. 

“Just running out of that tunnel is so special every single night, seeing thousands of fans day in and day out,” Gussert said. “Being able to high-five MVP kids, it’s just not like that anywhere else. And the fact that it is so consistent, whether or not you’re 20-0 or you’re 0-20, everyone is here still. You just don’t get that anywhere else. Michigan State is truly a special place, and I’m so glad that I picked here.”

Reimer concluded her collegiate career with more than 1,000 points. Reimer will graduate with a master’s degree in journalism and will look to pursue a career in sports broadcasting.

“I think that I’m definitely going to miss my teammates most,” Reimer said. “We’re so close and I think that one of the reasons I really wanted to come here just because of the family atmosphere and I could see it. Even playing against Michigan State and coming on my visit, being a part of this family is really different and it’s so special.”

Reimer and Agee both agreed it still has not hit them yet that the game was their final home game at MSU—it felt just like another home game to them. 

Head coach Suzy Merchant said what makes this class special is because this class has everything, from a walk-on, to a sixth-year senior, to a transfer, to players from Michigan and players from outside of Michigan.

“I probably will remember the depth of who they are,” Merchant said. “The differences and all the roles they played. I’ve had kids on senior night who have been amazing and all-conference and this, that and the other. 

"Not that we don’t have great players here, but I think the depth of who they are such as Kiara’s role is just as important as maybe what Branndais’ double-double was tonight. You know Lexi’s personality and the way she carries herself and loves Michigan State and has embraced every second... It carries over everywhere.”

The Spartans will look to secure a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament when they play their final game at 2 p.m. this Saturday at Purdue.

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