Jayhawk Insider: Austin’s last dance
By: Dayton Hammes
After a last minute illness kept Austin Richardson from participating in Late Night in the Phog last year, the senior was more than ready to let her personality shine through in both her first and last Late Night in the Phog experience on Friday night.
As a local kid from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, Richardson had heard about the history and excitement that surrounds Late Night each year and was anxious to experience the rich tradition for herself.
Last year, Richardson spent weeks perfecting the dances with her group only to pick up an illness that kept her from dancing across James Naismith court.Austin Richardson dances at
Late Night 2018.
“I was fine for a couple days and then all of a sudden the sickness just hit me,” Richardson explained. “So, Nicole, our athletic trainer, was like ‘your temperature is too high. You can’t participate.’ But they let me walk out onto the court with the team.”
This time, Richardson got to do more than just walk on the court, she showed off not only her bubbly and spunky personality, but also that all of those dance classes she took growing up had paid off.
The crowd erupted whenever Richardson took center court, captivating the fans with her energy and smile as she danced with her group to three songs by Ciara.
“Late Night was especially for her (Richardson),” senior guard Christalah Lyons said. “I think this one was just dedicated to Austin since she didn’t get to dance last year.”
Even though she was nervous to perform and play in front of 16,300 fans prior to the start of the night, not a single person would have known that based on her presence.
She wanted to draw the crowd in with not only the team’s performance, but also their playing ability.
“I’m just going to go out with a bang,” Richardson said. “Just knowing that in our games that we don’t get a crowd of that size, having such a large crowd at Late Night just made me want to go harder. We want to get people to come to our games and to come out and support us.”
Whether she’s dancing, singing or playing basketball, Richardson is ready to leave everything she has out there one final time.
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