Epic proportions

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Seay proves her game is big enough to carry an entire team

By George L. Jones

The Selma Times-Journal

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There is a lone jersey hanging in the rafters of the Concordia College gym.

It belongs to women’s basketball coach Ernest Foster, who wore No. 11 while becoming an All American and the all-time leading scorer at the school.

Foster readily confesses he will not only lose hold of that record, the No. 23 of Santana Seay will cast a shadow over his own.

“I was the best player to ever come through this school as far as basketball,” Foster said. “She has pushed me aside. Everything she has done in two years at this school speaks for itself.”

Seay won tournament MVP and led the Hornets to their second consecutive USCAA national championship March 5. She led the USCAAthis season with 24 points per game, is a two-time All-American and an integral part of the first ever women’s team to win back-to-back national titles.

Don’t expect her to brag about any of that, though.

“We’re still humble because even though we won the championship, it felt like just another game,” Seay said. “Everybody was kind of leaning on me, but at the same time, everybody helped out. We depended on our big people a lot. We played team ball, and everybody played together.”

But Seay played head and shoulders above anyone else that stepped on the floor. The rsum she has compiled in her time at Concordia is the stuff of legend. She has shot 60 percent from the field over the past two years, unheard of for a guard.

A shot in the lane that was finger rolled and banked off the glass after a much larger defender fouled her made Foster, in his own words, want to jump off the bench and go buy a ticket. Foster and a trainer had to carry Seay off the court after this year’s semifinals because she had the flu and was cramping. She still managed 21 points and 13 rebounds and then burned Philander Smith for 29 the next night in the final.

Foster compared her to another player in the region, who has made a few highlight plays of his own.

“There are not too many people here in the Black Belt area that dominate their sport the way Frankie Sullivan or Santana do,” Foster said, referring to the R.C. Hatch star. “I’m speechless at her ability, and the thing about it is she includes her teammates. I’ve been watching her since she was in high school when I was playing here, and I’ve never seen a player as good as she is.”

It’s hard enough to get fans to care about women’s basketball. It’s especially hard if the caliber isn’t of the Tennessee, North Carolina or Rutgers variety.

All Seay cares about is that her team is winning, no matter what level it plays on. After going undefeated in the past two national tournaments, it’s pretty hard not to stand up and take notice.

“It may look like it’s easy, but it’s not,” Seay said. “If you’re going after something you really want, you’re going to play on another level.”