The Wellesley Basketball Senior Day game on Saturday Feb. 15 showed a spectacular amount of resilience and compassion. The team’s three seniors, Kendall You Mak, Caitlin Aguirre and Emily Kopp, were all celebrated for their four seasons of dedication and hard work, surrounded by their family and cheered on by their friends. Besides a remarkable comeback over Emerson for an eventual eight-point victory, the team demonstrated the support that comes with being a small, tight-knit sports team.
Fans cheering on the Blue went wild for Aguirre, You Mak and Kopp as they were lauded for their commitment to the team. In their years at Wellesley, the basketball team has fluctuated between 9-12 players at a time, and the players have all dealt with the fluctuating highs and lows of a long basketball season. As players on the team they have all committed to spending Wintersessions back on campus, training daily and playing games without the support of their fans who are spending their breaks off campus. For many, the lack of a full winter break has been an ultimate dealbreaker, but for the seniors that stick it out all four seasons, that is just part of the experience of being a committed member of a Wellesley sports team.
All basketball games follow the same structure, but some are especially fun to watch. This was one of those games. You Mak, `20, recovering from a shoulder injury during the team’s previous game against Fisher College, was unable to play in the game against Emerson. The team wanted to make sure that all seniors were honored during their special game, however, so You Mak surprised the crowd by appearing in the starting lineup. With You Mak’s parents sitting in the crowd for the Senior Day game, You Mak was able to stand under the basket for the tip-off and score the game’s first points. The whistle was promptly blown, and You Mak took a spot on the bench to cheer on teammates for the rest of the game.
Emerson started the game strong, leading 15 points to the basket You Mak scored at the offset. The energy on the team was able to distinctively shift after the 13-point deficit in the first quarter. Together, the Blue was able to gain a 6-point lead at the end of the third quarter, and eventually win 57-49 against Emerson. Aguirre and Kopp were both able to finish the game with scored points in the double-digits, while Kopp notably completed the game-high honors with four steals, and tied for game-high honors in points with first year Jiyun Chae.