Farewell to SeniorsBy Elliott Propes | 02/25/2015 7:43pm
Seniors Briana Hutchen (above) and Sharin Rivers and will play their last home game of the season Thursday against Florida. CW | Layton Dudley
Two years ago, Sharin Rivers and Briana Hutchen did not know each other. Both players were playing basketball on opposites ends of the country. It was not until Kristy Curry was hired at The University of Alabama the two became teammates, and today is the last day these two will play basketball together at Foster.
Their journeys will end together as the two Alabama seniors will play their last home game of the season Thursday against Florida.
“It’s one of the most emotional times in coaching because you look up and you got them, and then all of a sudden they are gone,” coach Kristy Curry said. “Hopefully we have prepared them for the real world. That is why we are here.”
Curry said she loves her two seniors, and they have meant a lot to the program. Both were actually brought to Alabama by the coaching staff before Curry, but both ladies said they have much respect for their coach. Hutchen began at Rutgers University and then transferred to Alabama after her freshman year. She played for Wendell Hudson for one season before Alabama had a coaching change to Curry. Hutchen has played for three head coaches and 15 different coaches in total.
“It has been tough, but it has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I don’t think there are many people that have faced as much adversity as I have,” she said. “No matter how hard it was I enjoyed the journey, and I am just grateful for every single one of [the coaches].”
Rivers has had a very similar path. She played two years of junior college basketball in Tuscaloosa at Shelton State Community College. As she was finishing up, she caught attention from Alabama’s Hudson. Hudson would never coach Rivers though, as Curry was hired that summer. Curry gave Rivers a shot to make the team, and she did so. Rivers has been a key role player and has made some stellar plays, most recently a go-ahead three-pointer against Missouri to close out a victory.
“I will take away from this season, just the family atmosphere I’ve had here,” she said. “Everybody has always been there for me. Even when I wasn’t feeling good about myself playing, I always had someone telling me or whispering in my ear, ‘It’s going to be ok just keep being you.’”
Both players bragged about their teammates and coaches. They said they love them and will miss them. Hutchen and Rivers also said they are excited for the future of the program.
“I’ve played for literally 15 different coaches since I’ve been in college. I counted it up the other day, and one thing I can say is that these coaches know basketball,” Hutchen said. “I know for a fact that this program is going to be so successful and that’s why it meant so much for me to stay here and help build that foundation and help show them how hard you need to work.”
They may be leaving, but both said they are also focused on what is left in the season. Curry said it is a two-game season now with just two regular seasons games remaining and both players want to finish their senior seasons with some victories. A victory in the last game at Foster would mean the most.
“I feel like the greatest feeling of playing at home is your fans,” Rivers said. “Your fans get you pumped up, get you ready to go for the game. Everybody is clapping, yelling and screaming. It is just a great atmosphere, and for it to be almost over for us is really sad.”