‘Hard to put into words’: Catawba College women’s basketball reflects on historic season

The Lady Indians reached the Final Four for the first time this season.
Hundreds of fans gathered to welcome home the Catawba College women's basketball team after it made its first Final Four appearance.
Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 9:53 PM EDT
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SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - Thursday night, the Catawba College women’s basketball team returned to Salisbury after ending the most historic season in program history.

The Lady Indians advanced all the way to the Division II Final Four — the furthest any Catawba College basketball team has ever gone in a national tournament.

Catawba fell to Minnesota-Duluth 70-59 in the semifinals, just one game shy of appearing in the school’s first national championship.

But when the Lady Indians stepped back on campus, they received nothing short of a hero’s welcome in their hometown.

“This reception back to campus has been amazing,” head coach Terrence McCutcheon said. “It’s hard to put into words. Nothing I could ever really think of in my wildest dreams.”

As the team reflected on being the first to reach the Division II semifinals, the hope is that the 2022-23 squad won’t be the last.

“We set the standard for the future,” graduate senior Mercedes Wampler said. “Now future players, when they come here they know that our little school Catawba can make it.”

The team played its Elite Eight and Final Four games in Missouri. The Catawba College community hosted watch parties for both games, but finally got to show love to the team in-person Thursday night.

“It means a lot, it takes a lot of hard work,” McCutcheon said. “We’re just happy that we were able to go out and represent our community and try to do some really good things.”

The clock struck midnight on the Lady Indians Cinderella run through the tournament, but that doesn’t take away from the history that was made by this team.

“Even though we didn’t go to the national championship like we wanted, I couldn’t think of a better way to end my career,” Wampler said.

Related: Catawba College women’s basketball team falls in the Final Four as historic season ends