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Four Oklahoma State seniors say farewell to GIA

The four seniors on the 2009-10 Cowgirl basketball team have played their last home game at Gallagher-Iba Arena, a 78-70 triumph over #13 Iowa State. After the game, each lady had a chance to address the crowd of 2,563 and say their final farewells to the supporters.

Head Coach Kurt Budke

We appreciate you all sticking with us this year. It’s been a special year so far, but we’re not done yet and we appreciate you coming out to the last one here tonight. I’m going to turn this over to my seniors real quick. I want to thank you again – we love you guys – and we’ll see hopefully some of you in Kansas City.

Andrea Riley

Well, first of all I just want to say thank you for all of the support on behalf of the seniors. It’s been a great, great journey. I don’t want to cry, so I just want to say we love you guys and we want you all to come out and support us in Kansas City because we gonna get OU!

Riley leaves Oklahoma State as the all-time leading scorer in school history and a finalist for the Nancy Leiberman Award. She has amassed 2,632 points, 683 assists, 454 rebounds and 281 steals in her four years at OSU.

Megan Byford

Hi. First I just want to thank Coach Budke and everybody for giving me this opportunity to come here and play in front of you guys. Thanks to my teammates – thanks for making this year so memorable. And to the seniors – for the last three years; some of the best years of my life and I’ll never forget them. And most importantly, I want to thank my parents. I am blessed with some of the most amazing parents and the reason I’m here is because of their love and support, so without them this wouldn’t be possible and I appreciate it more than they’ll ever know. Thank you.

Byford was recently named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team with a 3.72 GPA in her masters level classes. On the court, she has been a solid presence in the middle, with 385 rebounds and 75 blocked shots in her three years as a Cowgirl center.

Tegan Cunningham

Hey. I’m going to make mine nice and short and sweet because I don’t like this kind of stuff. So thanks to Coach Budke for the last two years, it’s been great. Thanks to all my team – I love you all. I’m going to take these memories all the way back to Australia with me because it’s been awesome. That’s pretty much it.

Cunningham has had a brief but productive career in Stillwater, notching 839 points and 358 rebounds in her two years clad in orange. She is the team’s second-leading scorer, averaging 16.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game and is pouring them in at a 41 percent clip from 3-point range in her senior year.

Ally Clardy

I just want to thank my coaching staff for making my dream come true and my seniors for making this journey incredible. Thanks to Andrea for being a great roommate and teammate for the last four years and I just want to thank my parents for all the love and support they’ve given me while I’ve been here. They’ve never missed a game and I couldn’t ask for better parents. Thank you all.

Clardy has been in the Cowgirl program for 84 career wins to this point, reaching the 20-win mark for three out of her four years at Oklahoma State. Clardy made her second start of the season in her last game on the Gallagher-Iba court.

This team has fierce and loyal supporters of a Cowgirl basketball program that has run the gamut. As Andrea Riley reflected back in her post-game interviews she said, "It has been a journey. It’s been magnificent through everything and I wouldn’t trade it for anything."

Riley went on to reflect on the Oklahoma State program. "I did not know when I came here that this school would expand like this. We’ve been in the Top 25 three out of my four years. That’s something that not a lot of schools get. It’s overwhelming when you just sit and think about it. I don’t want to say I’m satisfied, but it really is overwhelming and it’s a blessing."

Ms. Riley, Ms. Cunningham, Ms. Byford and Ms. Clardy – you will certainly be missed in the orange and black, but like Coach said – it’s not over yet. So finish strong and represent Oklahoma State just like the alma mater says – proud and immortal. In Norman, Kansas City, where ever the NCAA tournament places you and with everything that  life offers you after you leave the campus of OSU. Cowgirls for life.