Top 5 sports moments during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Sarah Fuller strikes between the uprights twice in Vanderbilt’s matchup against Tennessee. Fuller joined special company as one of the few women to score in an NCAA football game.

Jackson Stanley, Co-Editor in Chief

Top five sports moments during the COVID-19 pandemic
The past year has been rough for a lot of people, and for a lot of different reasons. It has been a full year since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 13, 2020, every student in North Carolina was sent home for the remainder of the year. Although this year has been tough on all of us, there has been no lack of excitement in the world of sports, and to celebrate that, we remember the five most exciting moments in sports since COVID-19 has taken the world by storm.
5. Dustin Johnson takes home Masters win
In one of the most dominant performances of the last year, Dustin Johnson took home the Masters win in November, becoming the only number one ranked player to win since Tiger Woods in 2005. However,his ranking wasn’t what made his victory so dominant, but the margin that he won by. Johnson left no room for doubt, winning the Masters tournament by five strokes, breaking the record for largest Masters win ever. Johnson not only got his green jacket, but he also displayed one of the most statistically impressive performances in golf history amidst the pandemic.
4. Phoenix Suns’ undefeated run in the bubble
When multiple positive COVID-19 tests shut down the NBA, players, fans and coaches weren’t sure if they’d get to witness an end to the 2019-2020 season. But NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, and the rest of the league officials brilliantly executed a quarantine “bubble” with only the necessities. No one came or left without quarantining and being tested before. This allowed the players to focus on basketball, and that is what the Phoenix Suns did. The Suns came into the bubble looking in on the playoff picture from the outside. They were several games back from the eighth seed, and even if they went 8-0 in the last placement games, they would have had to rely on the teams ahead of them to lose enough games for them to pull ahead. Phoenix put on a great display of basketball, specifically Devin Booker, who averaged 30.5 points and 6.0 assists per outing in eight dazzling performances. They did end up going 8-0, however they would fall short, just one game behind the Portland Trailblazers, leaving them tied for the ninth seed, and they were sent home from the bubble.
3. Brady’s Bucs win Super Bowl LV
At the beginning of the season, it was doubtful the NFL could finish out the season with the COVID-19 pandemic in full force, the league underwent all possible precautions to continue the season, and this allowed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to meet the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. The game was one-sided to say the least, an overall dominant performance by the Buccaneers on both sides of the ball. Tom Brady had a dominant performance per usual, throwing 21-29 for 201 yards and three touchdowns, on the other end, Patrick Mahomes struggled throwing 26-49 for 270 yards but two interceptions. With this Super Bowl win, Brady now has more Super Bowl wins than any NFL player or franchise in the history of the league, making his case for the greatest of all-time even more convincing.
2. Los Angeles Lakers win 17th title in honor of Kobe & Gianna Bryant
On Jan. 26, 2020, the sports world had its heart broken, Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant, as well as his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. This tragedy hurt everyone who had ever heard of the two, but no party was affected quite as much as the Lakers’ team, front office and fan base. Their season was already fueled by the motivation to win for the Bryant family, so when the NBA returned in the bubble they took care of business. Defeating every opponent they faced in the playoffs, including the Miami Heat in the NBA finals. This playoff run by LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the rest of the Lakers team capped off the perfect ending to an NBA season riddled with hardship and uncertainty.
1. Sarah Fuller makes history as Vanderbilt kicker
The number one spot is held by a made extra point in a 42-17 loss for Vanderbilt against the University of Tennessee, but it’s not necessarily the extra point that made the number one spot, it was who made it. On Dec. 12, 2020 Vanderbilt senior Sarah Fuller made history, becoming the first woman to play in a Power 5, or SEC football game, not only that, but she was the first woman to score in either of those conferences as well. Fuller struck twice in her first game, going 2/2 on extra points in the Commodores 42-17 loss to Tennessee. Fuller also heads the women’s soccer team at Vanderbilt as goalie.