For the second year in a row South Dakota State women's basketball team will say goodbye to a group of seniors that have been a part of four consecutive NCAA Tournaments. Last year it was Jennie Sunnarborg and Jill Young. This year it will be Leah Dietel, Ashley Eide, and Katie Lingle.
All five of those players have been major contributors to the Jackrabbits success during their time with the program, and each deserves a lot of credit for helping sustain its success. In other words, they've all helped put South Dakota State on the map and keep it there.
"There are a lot of rings for them, and it's just full of great memories,' SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston said. "The seniors will take those memories with them, because this is the last one. This is their fingerprint. It's exciting."
From an individual standpoint, it is quite an accomplishment. How many athletes, especially those that are part of mid-major programs, get the opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament in every year of their college career? The list has to be rather short.
That's something that is still soaking in for the outgoing Jackrabbits, though their main concern right now is extending their last hurrah beyond Saturday.
"It has been an incredible experience. We are happy to have made it all four years," Lingle said. "We have some unfinished business to take care of this time."
"It's not something that many people get the chance to do," echoed Eide. "We're very excited about that and we're just tryiing to take it to the next level now and really take advantage of the opportunity that we have."
It's an opportunity that - regardless of Saturday's outcome against South Carolina - no one can ever take away, and few can ever experience.