LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Kayleigh and Kaylynne Truong had just kept their cool in one of the toughest environments in college basketball.
After that, what’s a few questions from the media?
The Zags’ season had just ended in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, a destination reached by fewer than one-tenth of the schools in Division 1.
The end came at the hands of an uber-talented, top-seeded Louisville squad, backed by 10,000-plus fans. But didn’t come easily for the Cardinals, who didn’t punch their ticket to the Sweet 16 until deep into the fourth quarter.
As the Louisville players and coaches celebrated at midcourt, the Zags trudged back to the locker room, five of them for the last time in a GU uniform.
There were tears, of course, and the seniors had left too much on the court to manage a press conference.
That left it to the Truong sisters and Coach Lisa Fortier to handle the questions. All three were forced to share the what-ifs and the should-have-beens of a close game.
Kayleigh Truong put the game, and the season, in perspective.
“On their home court playing the No. 1 seed, that’s what you want as an athlete,” said Kayleigh, the starting point guard. “That’s all you can ask for. You want to be put against the top because that’s how you come out and know that, hey, I can compete with the top.”
Kaylynne talked about the preseason doubts ahead of an expected rebuilding year.
“I mean, a lot of people doubted us from the get-go,” she said. “We just kept hearing like, Gonzaga is losing 50 percent of their scorers, rebounding, which that isn’t wrong, but I think people believed that we weren’t going to be as good as last year.”
“We had a lot to prove, and I’m super proud of this team because we definitely did prove that we belong here,” Kaylynne said.
Later, the conversation turned to the five seniors: Melody Kempton, Abby O’Connor, Anamaria Virjoghe, Cierra Walker and Kylee Griffen.
“It’s tough to lose and then have that season ending for the seniors at least,” Kaylynne said. “I definitely wanted it bad for them. I know we all wanted it bad for each other.”
The twins departed the press conference, leaving Fortier to talk about the postgame emotions with the seniors.
“I just told them that I love them,” Fortier said, her voice breaking. “And they’re leaving our program better than it was before they got there, that I’m thankful that I got to coach them, which are all very true.”
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