Jones and Kirkland reflect on career before final home game

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Chris Smith

Tonight is the final home game of the season for the women’s basketball team. Briana Jones and Sierra Kirkland are the only seniors on the team, and are looking forward to ending their career at Hanner on a high note.

Senior night is always a bittersweet moment for student-athletes across the country. College athletes realize that their time of playing the sport that they love so much is ending. For the Georgia Southern women’s basketball seniors that moment is here. Senior forwards Briana Jones and Sierra Kirkland are playing in their last game at Hanner Fieldhouse as Georgia Southern Eagles.

Officially, GSU played their senior night game last Saturday against Arkansas at Little Rock. Both Jones and Kirkland, who typically don’t start, started the game in celebration of their careers.

“Tonight was a little emotional because it is our senior night and it’s starting to hit home that this is it, this is starting to be the end. This game was so intense and everybody played so hard. I am so proud of everybody,” Sierra Kirkland said about senior night.

Even though Georgia Southern was not able to come away with the win, there were still bright spots for the team. Jones recorded one block and took third place on the all-time list for most shots blocked in GSU women’s basketball history.

“I didn’t really know that I was that close and that high up in the rankings. I’m not out there trying to swat people’s shots, but when they come they come and it is great going down in history at Georgia Southern on my way out,” Jones said about her all-time blocks ranking.

GSU played a hard fought game against Little Rock and it showed. They went toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the Sun Belt conference. Head coach Kip Drown was happy to see toughness from his players and he was proud of the way his seniors played.

“Those have been very special and as a first year coach you really have to get a buy-in from your players. I think that starts with your seniors and then everybody else hopefully falls in line. From the beginning those two have been very supportive and tremendously accepting of their roles,” Drown said about his two seniors.

There was also a ceremony held at half-court for Jones and Kirkland. Both were walked out by family members and were recognized for their hard work, both academically and athletically.

“Senior night is always emotional whether you are the senior or not. It is always sad to see people go, or see people the leave the program. I tried my best to not get so emotional today and keep my head in the game,” Jones said.

GSU will play their final home game of the season tonight at 5 p.m. against Appalachian State. The game will be televised on ESPN 3.