By Sean Savage
As the final seconds of the second round of the 2022 NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament dwindled down in Ben Light Stadium, the ball found the hands of Sam Hourihan.
Springfield was tied with Ithaca College 71-71 in overtime, and the Posse had a chance to advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2005.
“I just shot it and got hit, so I fell to the floor… The next thing I know is I am being jumped on by my entire team,” Hourihan said.
She had just sank the most memorable shot in Pride basketball history.
“It was an amazing shot,” Pride head coach Naomi Graves said. “She is an outstanding player for the program… one of the best that’s worn the uniform.”
Hourihan’s talents weren’t only recognized by Graves. In addition, she was also selected to the 2022-23 Third Team Preseason All-Americans, attesting to her generational talents and genuine persona.
However, this was not the first of Hourihan’s glory. She had a preview of her undisputed talent at a young age.
“I have been playing basketball my entire life,” Hourihan said.
She credits her defensive abilities to both her dad and her brother.
“I learned how to block shots and shoot over defenders because of the heights of my dad and brother,” she said.
Additionally, her dad coached her up until high school through Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) hoops. But it was not until the collegiate level where she dug up her work ethic.
“Once I got to college, I was pushed harder than I ever have been before,” Hourihan said.
According to Graves, acclimating to the next level was not too burdensome of a task for Hourihan.
“Oh my god… I have seen her grow tremendously. I have seen a high level of maturity,” Graves said.
Her work ethic led her to shine and play a vital role in the Posse’s success.
“I firmly believe Sam is bringing our team to new heights with her leadership skills,” Graves said.
She has grown to be a great leader for the Pride, and the numbers she puts up only helps to solidify her greatness.
Hourihan consistently performs at a high level, and makes an impact in multiple categories.
“To be recognized at the All-American level, you have to have the numbers, and she has them all,” Graves said.
The best part is, the numbers Hourihan puts up is a byproduct of the leader she has come to be. She leads not only with her voice, but by example on the court.
“She brings her basketball skills, her experience, and I just really feel her commitment to the student-athletes and the staff. She is just bought in, and that is really special,” Graves said.
One of the things that standout the most is her selflessness in receiving All-American honors.
“She is not driven by any awards but rather the team’s success, and that speaks volumes about her,” Graves said.
Similarly, Hourihan does not think this award would be possible without those around her.
“The biggest contributing factor was hands down the team’s success last year. I would not have gotten the recognition that I have gotten if it were not for the teammates and coaches,” she said.
Hourihan continued her praise for Graves as well.
“My coach is one of the most amazing women I have ever met. She is tough and strong while also being equally compassionate and caring. She cares for her players and wants us to be our best on and off the court. She expects a lot from me, but I am grateful,” Hourihan said.
She concluded with: “This is a special place, and I am so thankful that this is the school that I chose to go to.”
Photo Courtesy Springfield College Athletics