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OPINION: What sets the Belmont women’s basketball team apart

The Belmont women’s basketball team is a special group of ladies.

I’m sure plenty of people would draw the same conclusion based on the impressive accomplishments we have achieved over the past few seasons, including back-to-back OVC tournament championship titles, back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances and an undefeated record in conference play this past year.

However, the accomplishments on the court are not what make us so special. These are merely a byproduct of what truly sets this team apart — how much we care for one another.

Every single player on the Belmont women’s basketball team gets along. This is a rather rare occurrence, especially for women’s teams, which have a tendency to form cliques.

Not the Belmont women.

We do everything together, whether it’s planning a wedding shower for our recently engaged teammate or working tirelessly on a winning dance routine for the annual Battle of the Bruins — which we’ve have also won back-to-back for the past two years.

But why do we care so much for each other? It’s a culmination of a lot of things. It’s having a tremendous coaching staff who recruits good people instead of just talented players. It’s having great administrators who hold us all accountable in every area of our lives: spiritually, academically and athletically. It’s going to an amazing school that values more than just athletic success.

Being on the Belmont women’s basketball team means being pushed in every area of your life. This doesn’t just include 6 a.m. practices and wind sprints in the gym. It also includes being an active member of the community. Over the course of my two years at Belmont, we have tallied hours upon hours in community service, including our mission trip to Rio de Janiero, Brazil in 2015.

The culmination of these things creates a great group of women which, in turn, makes up a great basketball team.

This explains the historic season we just finished and our near victory in the NCAA tournament, falling by only three points to Kentucky — ranked fourth to our thirteenth.

In the locker room after that game, it was evident that this was not the ending any of us were expecting. After all we’d been through and all of the work we put in during the season, we fully expected to win.

And it was all because we believed in each other and knew what we were capable of. Every day in practice we gave full effort and energy, because we all wanted the same thing — to win an NCAA tournament game. And not only for ourselves, but for the teammates that we all care so much about.

However, this has only become the expectation for next year: winning an NCAA tournament game. I am fully convinced that the talent, character and determination that this team has will allow us to accomplish this feat.

This article written by Paris Lawson

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