Athletics: Spring 2019
Author: Athletics
Posted: June 4, 2019

Big Sky winners

ON A TEAM with three, all-time great fifth-year seniors, it was freshman Desirae Hansen who hit the game-winning shot with 3.1 seconds to go against Eastern Washington on March 15. With that win, the Portland State women’s basketball team earned its first Big Sky tournament title since 2010 and competed in the NCAA Division I tournament for only the second time in program history.

“We started something special four years ago,” says Lynn Kennedy, who took over as head coach in April 2015. “It took some time, but I’d just like to thank all of our fans, alumni and community supporters for being there for us all year.”

The tournament title completed a meteoric growth for the Vikings, who won only four games during Kennedy’s first year, but raised that to 25 with seniors Ashley Bolston, Sidney Rielly, Courtney West and Pia Jurhar this season—a new school record for wins during the program’s Big Sky era.

The Vikings went on to lose to the Oregon Ducks in the first round of the NCAA tournament, as the Ducks went on to the Final Four. But just the fact that the Vikings reached the tournament so quickly under Kennedy’s guidance was remarkable.

“I’m so proud, humbled and honored to be the coach of this team,” says Kennedy. “They’ll go down as the best team in Portland State history, and that says a lot about them, their character and their work ethic.”

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