GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- George Fox senior Jami Morris has no intention of ending her college basketball career the way it began.As a freshman, Morris was instrumental in leading the Bruins to the 2012 NCAA Division III national championship game, but George Fox lost its bid to win its second national title when it fell to Illinois Wesleyan 57-48. Now, as one of only two Bruins seniors who were members of that 2012 squad, Morris plans to avenge that loss by ending her playing career with a victory in Saturday night's scheduled national championship game at Calvin's Van Noord Arena.
Morris, a 5-foot-7 point guard who lives in Salem, Ore., and her Bruins advanced to Saturday night's national championship game by defeating Montclair State 70-52 in Friday night's semifinals. “That [national championship] game freshman year is a such a blur,” Morris said Friday night. “I didn't watch it back until a year later because it was such a disappointment, obviously. No though, it gives me so much more motivation because I feel like there is no other way than to go out with a win.”
George Fox spent the entire past week in West Michigan as the Bruins won their quarterfinal game here last weekend, beating the host Knights of Calvin . “It has been a long week because we are still in school this week and we missed a lot of work,” Morris said. “We spent a lot of time sitting around hotel rooms this week and I think, because of that, our practices might have been a little lackadaisical, but I am so proud of how my team came out tonight.”After beating UT-Dallas last week in the sectional opener, Morris and fellow seniors Dacia Heckendorf, who also played on the 2012 George Fox squad, and Lauren Codling, called a players-only meeting. “We said that as selfish as it sounds, do it for us,” Morris said. “We have worked so hard to get here. Everyone has bought into what we're doing and that's the reason we are here.”
Morris, who was married last summer, is majoring in biology and plans to continue her education by pursuing a master's degree in education. “I want to teach high-school biology and coach,” she said. “You have to start somewhere, but someday I would love to coach college basketball.”
Morris finished Friday's semifinal game with 16 points on 47 percent shooting from the field and a perfect 2-for-2 from the line. She also had two steals in the game and a team-high two assists.
Saturday's game will be the first NCAA Division III national championship game that will feature two undefeated teams as the 32-0 Bruins will take on the 32-0 Saints of Thomas More. “I think that's awesome, but we can't focus on that right now,” Morris said. “We have to focus on our next opponent and on the things that we can control. Those are the kinds of things we can think about later.”