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MSU women's basketball honors three seniors for last home game

February 23, 2023
<p>MSU guard Kamaria McDaniel hugs a family member while being honored at MSU's senior night celebration following the at-home victory at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023. McDaniel, along with fellow soon-to-be graduates Stephanie Visscher and Jayla James, took the floor one last time for a post-game ceremony.</p>

MSU guard Kamaria McDaniel hugs a family member while being honored at MSU's senior night celebration following the at-home victory at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023. McDaniel, along with fellow soon-to-be graduates Stephanie Visscher and Jayla James, took the floor one last time for a post-game ceremony.

Photo by Jack Armstrong | The State News

Michigan State women’s basketball honored three graduating seniors during their 71-67 win over Minnesota on Wednesday afternoon.

The crowd at the Breslin Center was smaller than normal after an ice storm warning caused the game to be moved up two and a half hours from 7 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., but the three seniors—senior forward Jayla James and graduate student guards Kamaria McDaniel and Stephanie Visscher—were still able to get their traditional Breslin sendoff.

The first of the senior day celebrations began before tipoff when the crowd was asked to stand for the playing of the Swedish national anthem—played in honor of Visscher who hails from Lulea, Sweden.

All three seniors were in the starting lineup for Wednesday’s game against the Gophers. McDaniel has started in every game she has played as a Spartan, but the lineup included fellow seniors Visscher and James for the first time this season.

The 2023 seniors are a unique bunch because all three of them are transfer players.

McDaniel started her career off at Penn State before transferring to Baylor and then finally landing at Michigan State for her final season. McDaniel has been a constant major contributor for the Spartans in her one year in the green and white, averaging a team-high 13.7 points per game.

“For me, being at Michigan State means the opportunity to be myself and to flourish and for that I'm just grateful … You got to take on everything in life and just understand what ways it benefits you in which way which ways God is trying to lead you to grow,” McDaniel said. “This has been a great, great experience for me and I'm so grateful for all the people because everybody plays a part in your full circle journey in life, so it's been a great experience.” 

Visscher started her college basketball career at Steven F. Austin State University where she played for four years before joining the Spartans for her final season. Visscher has hit the court in 26 of 27 games this season and started for the first time against Minnesota.

Visscher was a force at the boards on Wednesday afternoon, grabbing six rebounds for the Spartans, and making a huge contribution to the game.

James is another Spartan senior that started her career as a Lady Lion at Penn State, but unlike McDaniel and Visscher, James has been a fixture on the Spartan roster for three years.

“Thank you guys (administration) for giving me this opportunity to create such lifelong relationships and memories,” James said in a speech following the game. “I'm proud to be a Spartan.” 

Following
the conclusion of the game, all three seniors took to the floor with their loved ones for the last time in front of the Breslin crowd to kiss the Spartan head at half court. McDaniel and James were both accompanied by their parents and siblings, but Visscher’s family was unable to make it to East Lansing, so the graduate student was escorted by teammates sophomore center Brooklyn Rewers and fellow Swede, sophomore guard/forward Matilda Ekh.

Senior day celebrations are bittersweet. It marks the end of one chapter, but also the beginning of another.

“It's special, and more than anything it's kind of a benchmark moment where you realize—this is a chapter that's ending, those three will never wear this uniform on this floor again,” Interim Head Coach Dean Lockwood said. “There's always a little sadness to it, but you're also excited for them and their futures.” 

Despite the senior celebrations, Michigan State is not quite done yet. The Spartans will travel to Penn State for their final game of the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. The game will also be streaming on BTN+.

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