Lady Argos' Historic Season Ends - News, Sports and Weather

Lady Argos' Historic Season Ends

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – The 2014-15 season for the University of Great Falls women's basketball team was historic on many fronts.

The Lady Argos set a school record for victories, won their first playoff game since 1985 and advanced to the NAIA National Tournament for the first time in program history.

Once at nationals the team upset two higher-seeded and higher-ranked squads to reach the Elite Eight before bowing out to defending national champion Oklahoma City Saturday.

Despite the immediate disappointment of being eliminated, UGF head coach Bill Himmelberg offered some perspective in the postgame news conference.

“This has been a special ride,” Himmelberg said Saturday. “It will be something they can remember and will be in the history books forever.”

The Lady Argos have accomplished much in Himmelberg's five years as head coach.

UGF went 10-20 during Himmelberg's first campaign in 2010-11 and 9-19 the next season. But the 2011-12 season was pivotal in the program's rise as it was the freshman season for the current senior class – a class that included double-double machine Lindsey Abramson, a center from Phoenix.

Abramson is the UGF single-season and career record holder in double-doubles. She's also the single-game, single-season and career record holder in rebounds, and holds the single-season and career records for blocks.

She set the single-game record with 51 points as a junior en route to the first of two NAIA National Player of the Week honors she earned in her career.

Abramson was a two-time honorable mention All-American and she hit the game-winning 3-pointer as time expired Friday to defeat Langston in the Sweet 16.

“I think it puts us on the map and shows people not to underestimate us,” Abramson said. “Yes, we were a bunch of kids from Montana and Arizona and all over the map. But we work hard and we did what we could to win. That was the biggest thing. We put in the work to win on and off the floor.”

The Lady Argos finished 14-16 Abramson's sophomore year, and 17-13 last season before this year's breakthrough campaign which saw UGF finish 24-10.

The Lady Argonauts' unprecedented achievements galvanized a city that hadn't seen this kind of local college basketball success in a generation. The Lady Argos won three Frontier Conference titles in the 1980s – including 1985 which was the final season before the program was disbanded. The school brought back basketball in 2000.

The crowd that gathered at the Great Falls airport Sunday to welcome the Lady Argos home showed how much this team means to the town.

“Great Falls has always been a great basketball community,” Himmelberg said. “For us to reestablish that great history, we're playing not only for us, but for the community and the girls in the past that helped build the program back up to what it is today.”

Abramson will leave the program with fellow seniors Mary Wilmore, Mackenzie Owens and Ashley Crippen. Wilmore and Owens played substantial minutes at the national tournament while Crippen remained sidelined with an injury sustained earlier this season.

The Lady Argos appear poised to be good for several years to come with All-Conference guards Erin Legel and Darah Huertas-Vining returning. Also coming back are Frontier Sixth Player of the Year Nneka Nnadi and freshman star Stephanie McDonagh.

But this year's outgoing senior class will be the group remembered for leading UGF to unprecedented heights.

“We started so low, and being able to work together and however many records we broke for the school – that's just a pretty awesome thing to be part of the history books,” Abramson said. “(We) are able to say we left our mark and left our legacy.”

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