Lone senior honored

When the game ended Sunday afternoon, sounds of her name filled Smith Center. Senior Kenan Cole should be used to it by now since Joe McKeown, GW’s head coach, has been screeching it from the sidelines for four years. But this time, the chants came from the crowd.

“Ke-nan Cole! Ke-nan Cole!”

Before a six-point performance that helped her team to an undefeated finish in the Atlantic 10 regular season, Cole’s contributions were recognized as she was presented with a framed No. 20 jersey and joined by her parents and McKeown. The 2,002 in attendance gave the senior a standing ovation. Cole struggled to put the feeling into words.

“I couldn’t really ask for anything better today,” she said.

The Owls managed to hold Cole scoreless for more than 31 minutes. She appeared to maintain her composure and bounce back from the slow start to hit three consecutive pull-up jumpers down the stretch and keep the Colonials out in front of the Temple.

“The three jumpers she made in the second half were big because every time it seemed like we’d get up five or six, we couldn’t break away,” McKeown said. “Temple would get it down to two or three, and then she’d hit big shots for us. She wants to make them all like everybody, but I thought they were big.”

Holding back tears at the post-game press conference, Cole said that the enormity of the game and the emotional impact of Senior Day added some pressure that contributed to only scoring six points on 3 of 8 shooting, a departure from her 11.1 points per game season average.

“We had such a great atmosphere today, such a great crowd, and being Senior Day and everything, I just came out with too much,” Cole said.

McKeown summed up his relationship with Cole, who has near a straight-A grade point average, by likening her to “one of his own children.”

“She came in with this unbelievable work ethic and self-discipline that I’ve seen very rarely before,” McKeown said. “She just made herself a better player. I give her all the credit.”

After Friday’s game against Saint Joseph’s, McKeown said that Senior Day would be a celebration for Cole, but pointed out that it would also be sad to lose such a player.

“She brings so much to our team that never gets in the stats,” McKeown said. “She’s an unsung type of player.”

Junior Sarah-Jo Lawrence, who has played with Cole for three seasons, added that beating Temple and winning the regular season A-10 title was a feat that the Colonials wanted to accomplish for the team, but for Cole especially.

Saint Joe’s head coach Cindy Griffin said that she has seen Cole progress over the years as an opponent, stressing the senior’s hustle and big shots down the stretch.

“Cole’s three-point shooting has gotten better, her pull-up jumper is her bread-and-butter,” she said.

Walking out of the media room Sunday afternoon, Cole still had tears in her eyes but McKeown had a grain of reassurance for his senior.

“Don’t worry, you’ll be playing again,” McKeown told her.

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