Final farewell to an all-time great

It is one of those things you have to do as a sports fan, most especially as an LSU fan.

As a sports fan, every diehard has those goals that have to be met in their lifetime. See a Super Bowl. Attend the World Series. See a football game at Notre Dame. Go the Master's. Camp out at Talladega. The list goes on and on and can be quite diverse depending on the fan.

But as an LSU sports fan, Sunday, Feb. 26 will be one of those days, those musts everyone who wears purple and gold will remember.

Seimone Augustus will take the floor for the last time in her illustrious career as an LSU Lady Tiger. Sure there have been greats before her – Joyce Walker, Julie Gross, Cornelia Gayden, Pokey Chatman, Marie Ferdinand – but no other will stand alongside Augustus in what she has done in her four year career at LSU.

Sunday, Augustus scored 26 points and moved into third place all-time with 2,454 points surpassing Cornelia Gayden's 2,451 career points. It is likely by the time it is all said and done in her final home game as a Lady Tigers against Mississippi State on Sunday, Augustus will stand alone in second place moving ahead of Julie Gross, who has 2,481 career points.

"It feels great," Augustus said Sunday about passing Gayden on the all-time scoring list. "She (Gayden) calls me ‘Baby Tiger.' She (Gayden) is ‘Big Tiger.' I talked to her before the game and I told her I am coming to get you (the record). She told me records are made to be broken. It feels good to be in good company with her, Joyce Walker and Julie Gross."

All points aside though, what Augustus has done at LSU is far more important than points on a stat sheet. Sure her almost 2,500 career points have led to lots of wins for LSU, but the way she has changed the face of a program and the way women's basketball is perceived in a football first town is even more noteworthy.

Sunday, the reigning National Player of the Year and most decorated athlete in the history of LSU sports, will bid adieu to the Pete Maravich Center.

"I don't want to even look forward to next Sunday," Augustus said after Sunday's win over Arkansas. "I want to take it game by game. Ya'll are going to make me cry."

Augustus fought back her emotions last Sunday, but it will be hard to hide the tears this upcoming Sunday, her last home court appearance as an LSU Lady Tiger.

"It will (be emotional) because of everything has happened here; the way our community has embraced us," Augustus said. "Everything we have done here, all the history we have made; it will be very emotional. It is going to be tough to say goodbye, but we still have a long stretch of basketball to go afterwards."

LSU landed Augustus as a shy-smiling 18-year-old out of Baton Rouge's Capitol High School. The Lady Tigers' coaches knew everything about the Gatorade National Player of the Year, having watched her play all her life, but Tennessee's Pat Summitt put the hard sell on Augustus and the Baton Rouge native could have chosen to head north.

But Augustus picked the Tigers and LSU coach Pokey Chatman, Sue Gunter's lead assistant and top recruiter at the time, knew what she would mean to the program.

Sunday, Chatman fought back emotion as well in talking about the close of Augustus' career as an LSU Lady Tiger.

"It has gone extremely fast," Chatman said. "Boy I wish I could take the fifth on this one, but I won't because she deserves for me to speak on this.

"It has gone fast in our eyes, but others might argue that it has gone at a snail's pace because she has been so productive so early and so often and not just in terms of this state sheet, but all of the people she has brought in. All of the people from the community from the TV people, the national media, all of the exposure, I couldn't think of a better person to have coached."

Augustus has won almost every award imaginable after her junior season and will likely clean up again following her senior campaign. But Chatman wants everyone to remember Augustus for the way she carried herself and the way she played the game.

"You think about the accolades and it's easy to forget about the person that she is," Chatman said. "It is easy to remember the trophies and the hardware, but it is the person that makes Seimone."

So if you happen to have plans on Sunday afternoon that do not include making it out to the Maravich Center, cancel them. Go and say goodbye to one of the best basketball players LSU has and will ever know.

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