Skip to main content

A Signature Sendoff


The campus gathers to cheer Smith’s basketball team en route to the Final Four

Basketball players, carrying luggage and smiling, walk along the path toward the bus

Sofia Rosa, graduate student ’25, Selam Maher ’26, and Alina Abdulina ’27 prepare to board the bus for the Final Four game in Columbus, Ohio.


Published March 13, 2024

High spirits, high fives, hype music—and cowbells! 

That’s how the Smith community celebrated its basketball team Tuesday, as players left for Ohio to compete in the NCAA Division III Final Four.

As team members descended the stairs outside Ainsworth gym in their travel sweats shortly before 1:30 p.m., a crowd of students, faculty, staff, and members of the Northampton community clapped and cheered their procession toward a waiting bus.

The Smith team is having another standout season, playing its way to its second Final Four appearance in program history. Next up is a semi-final game in Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday, March 14, at 5 p.m. against Wartburg College. (The game can be seen on 

The winner of that game will advance to the championship match on Saturday, March 16, at 7 p.m. at Capital University. Adding edge to the competition, if Smith ends up in the final, the team will face either Transylvania—the team that ended the Pioneers’ NCAA run last year—or New York University, now home to former Smith player Morgan Morrison ’23.

At Tuesday’s sendoff, even the weather seemed to be in Smith’s corner, offering a backdrop of a cloudless blue sky and plenty of golden sunshine.

Erika Herring, who worked in Smith Dining Services for 35 years before retiring in 2017, was among the first to arrive to see the team off. She and her husband, Gerry, are “absolutely hooked” on Smith basketball, Herring said. “We went to the Final Four last year and to see them do this two years in a row is just beyond expectations!”

Coach Lynn Hersey smiling and grasping hands with an enthusiastic supporter in attendance.

Coach Lynn Hersey is greeted by the Smith College community.

Jazmyn Washington smiling and giving a high-five.

Jazmyn Washington ’25 high-fives a supporter on her way to the bus.

Lucie Bodnar ’16, assistant director of admission, had brought a group of co-workers to the sendoff. It’s one of the busiest times of the year for admission staff but Bodnar didn’t want to miss a chance to celebrate the team.

“My fiance and I are driving to Ohio” for the game, said Bodnar—who was also at last year’s Final Four match. “It’s just an amazing opportunity to bring the Smith energy.”

Anna Boden ’26 and fellow Smith rowing team members Lucie Gundersen ’27 and Jackie Wiechmann ’27 had come to Ainsworth to show support for their fellow student athletes.

“We go to all the games. It’s really exciting,” Gundersen said.

As for the basketball team appearing two years in a row in the Final Four: “Back to back?! It’s crazy,” Boden said.

As coach Lynn Hersey wrapped up a media interview and boarded the team bus, onlookers erupted in a final round of cheers and bell ringing.

Eleven-year-old Haze Wildhagen—who had come to the pep rally with their mom, Laurie Rohrer-Wildhagen of the Schacht Center—summed up the prevailing mood this way:

“They’re very inspiring,” Haze Wildhagen said of the Smith players. “It’s amazing how they’ve made it so far!”

Photos by Lily Hetherman ’25.