Thanks for the Memories

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Wow, where did the season go? Seems like it was just last week when we were watching UC and NKU in a tough exhibition contest, and now we're closing the home schedule Monday night.


The end of the home season also means that we say goodbye to the team's seniors, Shareese Ulis and Shelly Bellman. These two have experienced just about everything during their time in the program, and while on Senior Night we honor their accomplishments by rattling off their career stats and highlights, these players are much more than the numbers they've amassed.


Shareese has been in Clifton only two seasons but in that time has certainly made an impact. Playing on what Coach Jamelle Elliott calls "70 year old knees," Shareese has fought through surgeries and chronic pain to play just about every minute of every game she's been here. Along the way she, more often than not, is the leading scorer in Bearcat games and has an impressive three-point percentage to boot. She has overcome more than her share to be a Bearcat, and she'll graduate this spring to what she hopes will be a career in coaching. She stepped in to be the floor leader that Coach Elliott needed when Coach took over the Bearcat job, and Shareese has proven that the decision was a correct one.


Shelly, on the other hand, is the rarest of players-the sixth year student-athlete. (And yes, rarer still, this is her second senior night.) But her story goes beyond one evening of acknowledgements. Full disclosure here, Shelly was an intern for us at Game Day Communications last year, but I first saw Shelly play as a freshman for the Bearcats. I was immediately impressed with her passion for the game and her hustle on the court. Even as a first-year player she didn't hesitate to get in the huddle and challenge her teammates.


Injuries cut her time on the floor, but at the same time extended her years with the Bearcats. And yes, she thought she was done last season but was granted the sixth year injury exemption because, as she put it, she wanted the chance to play for Coach Elliott, her third head coach in her six seasons here. You couldn't blame her if she had just packed up her things after five years and drove away. Instead, she stayed for another season and, in the process, became a mentor for this tremendous crop of Bearcat freshmen. She shows by example and hard work how to do it the Bearcat way.


So we have one last chance to show these seniors how much we appreciate their contributions to the University of Cincinnati. Whether you're a season ticket holder, a UC alum, a fan, friend or classmate, come out Monday night to Fifth Third Arena and give them the standing ovation they deserve. It's the least we can do to say "Thanks."

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