Now that’s what you call a memorable farewell.
In her last appearance at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Thursday, graduate student Lauryn Satterwhite dropped 20 points in the best performance of her five years as a Wildcat, notching her third double-digit scoring game in the past week and her sixth career showing with 10+ points.
She just could not miss. Aside from dropping 12 of her 20 points in the second quarter alone, Satterwhite did not miss a two-point opportunity the entire contest and shot 50 percent from beyond the arc. She contributed elsewhere with two rebounds, four assists and one steal, all while turning the ball over only once in her 33 minutes of play.
“I knew this was my last time on this court with these guys,” Satterwhite said in the post-game press conference. “I was just letting it fly, and really I was just having fun out there.”
As the oldest member of Joe McKeown’s graduating class, Satterwhite has seen and experienced a lot in her time as a Wildcat. She was a member of the team that won Northwestern’s first Big Ten regular season championship in history, she witnessed the careers of Abbie Wolf, Abi Scheid and Lindsay Pulliam, she sat out her entire freshman season with a lower body injury, and she only appeared in 22 games before her senior year.
That being said, after last season, she still felt there was more work left to be done.
“I came back for a reason, though I didn’t know what it was,” Satterwhite said.
Throughout the year, that reason has become clear. Satterwhite’s play improved dramatically this season from seasons past, with all of her work culminating in a memorable performance in her last home contest alongside the team she describes as family.
“It wasn’t just to play basketball,” she said. “I think it was specifically to grow closer to this team and have moments like that.”
For the Arizona native, there is no better time to begin having “moments like that” than now. With one more regular season contest remaining, the Wildcats are now looking to close out their scheduled slate with a win on the road against Nebraska and, hopefully, make a run in the conference tournament. Conveniently, Satterwhite is playing better ball than she ever has before.
In her past three appearances, Satterwhite is averaging 16 points and over thirty minutes of playing time. For context, her previous game-high in points came against South Dakota at the Paradise Jam in the Bahamas, where she scored 15. Additionally, before her three most recent games, Satterwhite only appeared for over thirty minutes in three games her entire career.
It’s clear that her teammates and coaches are putting their faith in her to perform, and she has done just about all she could to impress them. Aside from her play on the court, her abundant energy, experience and positive attitude make her easy to coach and to play with. Even in the moments when she’s not on the court, Satterwhite works hard to support her teammates and she makes sure they hear her praises all the way from the sideline.
“Lauryn brings a lot on the court and off the court,” said Veronica Burton, Satterwhite’s co-captain and teammate of four years. “She is the glue to this team, and she brings us together.”
There are few players more determined to win their individual battles on the court than Satterwhite. There are also few players who can completely dominate a post-win dance circle like she can, so here’s to hoping there are a few more of those to spectate come season’s end.
From having only started one game in her first four years at Northwestern to cementing herself as a starter by the end of her final season, Satterwhite’s presence on the court this year has been the most pleasant surprise any Wildcat fan could have asked for. It’s not worth it to even attempt to imagine what this season would have looked like without her, because thankfully, she wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else.
“It was really her that said ‘I want to be a part of this again,’” said McKeown on Satterwhite’s decision to return for a fifth year. “Here she is on senior night, and she just played one of her best games.”