Lady Rams leave lasting impression

Graduating seniors seek championship in last run

February 21, 2018

The walls of Regan Gymnasium were dressed up with posters and blue-and-gold streamers as two women’s basketball seniors stepped onto their home court for the finale of the Lady Rams regular season.

Co-captains Alex Nagri and Georgia Bourikas were honored at a ceremony prior to Saturday’s game against the University of Saint Joseph’s, Connecticut, where the Lady Rams beat the Blue Jays 80-60.

“It helped this season that it was our two voices leading the team because not only are we the seniors but we are two starters,” said Bourikas in an interview with The Suffolk Journal on Tuesday. “I think [the two of us] helped the younger girls especially to show them how [Nagri and I] came up in this program together and stayed with each other and learned to play well with and for each other.”

The two Lady Rams have contributed to the women’s basketball program’s success with a combined total of 1,769 points, 688 rebounds and 219 steals. The seniors made history together when they both played in 100 career games for the Lady Rams on Feb. 1 against Anna Maria College.

“Playing sports in college takes a special kind of person. It’s definitely not for everyone but it has definitely helped shape me into who I am today,” said Nagri in an interview with The Journal on Monday. “The competition aspect of sports has helped me in more ways than I can count, but I think that my teammates and coaches played a big part in who I am.”

Nagri has been an active member on the Lady Rams roster since her freshman year, where she has played in 102 games and notched for 131 career steals. In her four years as a Lady Ram Nagri scored the most amount of points during her sophomore year. In her final season, Nagri, overall, scored 128 points with a 28.8 three-point percentage.

Unfortunately for the guard, her senior season ended early with a sprained ankle injury that occurred in the game against St. Joseph’s College of Maine on Feb. 6.

“I wanted more than anything to be on the court playing my last couple of games but I have now accepted it and realized that I can be helpful on the bench and still use my leadership skills to lead the team to success,” said Nagri.

Bourikas, a fifth-year senior, has been a member of the Lady Rams for all five years. During preseason her sophomore year she suffered from an ACL injury which put her out for the entire season, allowing her to redshirt and obtain another year of eligibility to play.

This was her second senior day and according to Bourikas, she is the first woman in program history to be recognized as a senior two years in a row. She explained how she debated even being recognized at this years senior day, but did not want Nagri to go out alone.

“[Bourikas] makes everyone better,” said Nagri. “She is constantly encouraging everyone and is always working her hardest. She has always been a team-first player and that shows in her game.”

Junior forward Shannon Smith made a speech prior to the senior day game on behalf of Bourikas and the type of individual and player she is.

She’s the glue to the norms we preach here

— Shannon Smith

“She’s the glue to the norms we preach here,” said Smith in front of the family and friends crowded in the gymnasium.

The shooting guard is a prominent member on the Lady Rams’ roster who found herself in the record book for multiple honors. Bourikas joined the 1,000-point club this season and now has a total of 1,081 points. The co-captain also has played in a total of 106 games, averages 14 points per game and has started in all of the Lady Rams’ 26 games this season.

“Overall it has been a great experience playing with this team. I have made some of my best friends to the point where it’s like having a second family,” said Bourikas.

With the gymnasium splashed with decorations in honor of these two Lady Rams on Saturday, it is clear they will be missed as members of the team.

Junior guard Marissa Gudauskas also spoke before the Lady Rams’ crowd about Nagri’s defense abilities and how she was able to learn an abundance of defensive skills from the senior. Gudauskas thanked her co-captain for her passion, time and energy she devoted to the Lady Rams.

“It will be hard to replace their roles, they both have been significant players on the team their entire careers,” said Smith in an interview with The Journal on Tuesday. “But next year we’ll have to have people step up and take larger roles.”

The two co-captains, under head coach Ed Leyden, have led the Lady Rams 11-women roster to a winning record of 20-6 this season.

“[Nagri and Bourikas] are two of my favorite players that I have ever had,” said Leyden in an interview with The Journal on Tuesday. “Both [Nagri and Bourikas] are great competitors, great people and terrific teammates. [Nagri] is probably one of the best competitors that I’ve ever had and [Bourikas] is one of the most skilled players that we’ve ever had.”

The seniors seek to earn a final-season Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) championship. The Lady Rams playoff run will continue Thursday at No. 2 seed Emmanuel College for the GNAC semifinals.

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