Two seniors make farewell home appearance Thursday

Thursday night is Senior Night for two Vanderbilt seniors, as Ashley Earley and Abi Ramsey play one last game on the Memorial Gym hardcourt. The Commodores face Alabama at 7 pm. VandyMania staffer Whitney D. takes a retrospective look back at the careers of Earley and Ramsey, two all-time favorites of Commodore fans.

As seniors in high school Vanderbilt signees Ashley Earley and Abi Ramsey led their teams to state championships in Tennessee. Shelbyville, Abi's team, won the Class AAA championship, and Memphis Briarcrest, Ashley's team, won the Division II championship.

On the first day of team practice as a freshman, Ashley gets a lesson from senior Zuzi Klimesova on how to carry a team on your back.

As their freshman season began, Vanderbilt was ranked in the top five of most preseason rankings. In Abi's and Ashley's first game as Commodores, Vanderbilt defeated Eastern Kentucky in the preseason WNIT.

On Fan Appreciation Day, Vanderbilt defeated Penn State in front of a big crowd, which meant a lot of autograph signing afterwards.

One of the highlights of their freshman season was winning the 2002 SEC Tournment Championship in Nashville. Afterwards the team advanced to the Elite 8 in the NCAA tournament.

Soon after season, Coach Jim Foster left for Ohio State. Tom Collen was hired just as the spring semester ended. Many of the players had already left town, but Abi was on hand for the press conference announcing his hiring.

The next couple of months were eventful. Collen was un-hired, and a month later current Vanderbilt Coach Melanie Balcomb was hired. Ashley tore her ACL in a pickup game in June. Abi cut her hair. In August, the team and the new staff got acquainted on a tour of Italy.

Ashley's knee heeled quickly and well, and by the time team practices started her sophomore year in October, she was cleared to practice.

At the Commodore Crew potluck following the Black and Gold Scrimmage in October, Abi explained that yes, she did in fact cut her hair - but that she's going to let it grow out again.

The year flew by, ending with a last second overtime loss in overtime in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Norfolk, Virginia. With the loss, the Vanderbilt careers of Chantelle Anderson and Ashley McElhiney came to an end.

As Ashley and Abi made the transition from sophomores to upperclassmen, a new era at Vanderbilt was about to arrive, with seven freshmen arriving on campus in July.

Midway through their junior season, Ashley and Abi displayed their various bumps and bruises and even a black eye for a photo.

As juniors, on Senior Night Ashley and Abi gave the balloons and flowers to the seniors who were being honored.

After four games in four games at the 2004 SEC Tournament in Nashville, Abi and Ashley got their turn once again to cut down the nets at the Gaylord Entertainment Center. Afterwards, the team advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament where they lost, once again, on a buzzer beater.

And then they became the seniors. Over the summer, they took over leadership of the team.

In October, Ashley, Abi, Coach Balcomb, and Kerwin Lonzo, who had just been hired to handle media relations for women's basketball, attended SEC Media Days in Birmingham.

At the annual Student Athletes' Holiday Party, Abi and Ashley demonstrated the quality of perseverance as they completed assembly of one of the toys.

In December, Ashley joined the 1000-point club as she scored 26 points in New Orleans against UNO. During Abi's years at Vandy, her parents Tim and Susan have raised the "Show Your Gold" standard to new heights, and trips to New Orleans always offer the possibility of bigger and better gold beads.

Soon afterwards, Abi broke the all-time school record for 3-pointers against NC State. Later, she broke the school records for 3-pointers in a game with eight when the Commodores hosted Florida. Going into tonight's game against Alabama, she only needs 14 points to join the 1000-point club.

The game is the last home game of the season, the last game that Abi and Ashley will play in Memorial Gym. In other words, it's Senior Night.

Following the game, friends, family and fans will honor and celebrate their Vanderbilt careers, and everyone is invited to stay after the game to join the celebration.

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Game photos 2000-2001 by Micah Miller for All other photographs copyright 2001-2005 by Whitney D. for

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