SDSU basketball star lives up her last night in Frost


Ariy-El Boynton And Brian Kimmes

Senior Night was Megan Vogel’s night. Vogel, SDSU’s lone senior and arguably the best player ever to put on the yellow and blue, led the team to an 86-51 victory over border-rival North Dakota State University.

Before the game, Vogel was given flowers by Head Coach Aaron Johnston in a mini-ceremony. Vogel acknowledged the crowd, rubbed her eyes to wipe away her tears and then handed the flowers off. She instantly went into serious game-face mode.

The ceremony began an emotional evening for the Jacks. Johnston said he told his players to “embrace the emotion, and although there is a temptation to be over-emotional, you just have to get through it.”

The Jacks did get through the emotion and concluded the last regular season home game on an extremely high note, claiming their 21st victory for the season, with only five losses, and their 10th win in a row.

The Jacks went on a 23-0 run in the second half and never looked back. Vogel sparked the run with a clutch 3-pointer. After the three, Vogel hit her chest, indicating she was queen of the court on her Senior Night. Less than a minute later, Vogel drained another long-distance bomb, in which she gave several fist pumps, relishing her last regular-season game at Frost Arena. After Vogel’s two consecutive 3-pointers, a time-out was called, and a standing ovation occurred all through the arena. The students showed their love for Vogel by chanting one of their many “Thank you, Megan” cheers, and one male student even asked Vogel for a date while she was waiting to enter the game.

In front of a season-high crowd, tears flowed in the pre-game, post-game and also when Vogel made her final curtain call at the end of the game. At the 2:32 mark, Vogel left the court and every seat was vacated. The SDSU faithful gave Vogel her final salute. Vogel gave a hug to Johnston, the other assistant coaches and all of the players on the bench.

“To say that the team is just a basketball team is an understatement. It is a family,” Vogel said, with tears in her eyes.

“I have been just blessed to be part of this family. It’s just been amazing to play here. There are just so many people that have enriched my life.”

Vogel and the rest of the Jackrabbits now must turn their attention to closing out the regular season strong to secure a bid to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament. The Jackrabbits have two games remaining against opponents they outscored by a combined 118 points in their previous match-ups.

With such a large margin of victory against their final opponents, SDSU needs to be cautious about taking the games for granted. Johnston said he believes the possibility of a WNIT berth will provide the team with enough motivation to keep playing hard and finish the season strong.

The Jacks’ next game is against Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne. SDSU defeated the Mastodons, 103-51, in the season’s earlier contest. Johnston said his team needs to play well defensively, especially against the perimeter players, to secure themselves a win.

The final regular season game of the year is against the New Jersey Institute of Technology. The Highlanders were on the receiving end of the Jacks’ largest victory of the year, a 96-30 shellacking.

March 3 may be the final regular season game, but the team hopes it will not be the last game of the year. Johnston said the team will continue to practice during spring break in anticipation of receiving an invite to the WNIT. Johnston said the team does not have any definitive plans in place, but the team will be getting together to hear the announcement of whether or not they get into the tournament. The WNIT brackets are released March 12.