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W. basketball SUNYAC pursuit down to the wire

by Panagiotis Argitis
Tue, Feb 13th 2018 09:00 pm
Senior forward Lindsay Johnson (above) rises above surrounding defenders for a clean look at a shot. She finished with 19 rebounds and 24 points during the last senior day of her college career.
Senior forward Lindsay Johnson (above) rises above surrounding defenders for a clean look at a shot. She finished with 19 rebounds and 24 points during the last senior day of her college career.

The College at Brockport women’s basketball team has fought its way into establishing itself as one of the top teams in the conference, but the race to clinching a spot in the SUNYAC tournament is coming down to the wire and time is quickly running out. 

With two conference games left in the season, the Golden Eagles are currently sitting in fifth place at the SUNYAC standings. After its latest matchups against Oneonta and New Paltz, Brockport is holding a conference record of 9—7, winning one less than the team in fourth place, which is where Brockport needs to be in order to enter the SUNYAC tournament. The team in question? SUNY New Paltz.

The New Paltz Hawks have had a very similar season to the Brockport Golden Eagles, moving up and down the conference standings throughout the duration of the season. The team’s current conference record of 10—6 has secured it a fourth place standing in the SUNYAC tournament as of now. The Golden Eagles have been chasing New Paltz and a top-four finish since the beginning of 2018, and they got closer than ever before this past weekend. 

Brockport has been feeling the pressure from needing a top-four finish in the standings for a couple of weeks now, but instead of falling victim to overwhelming pressure, the team has used the pressure as fuel for its strive to claim a spot in the SUNYAC tournament. That being said, the team went into this past weekend with a fearless mentality, which directly translated onto the floor. 

“We have gotten a lot better individually and as a team in every aspect since the last time we versed New Paltz,” sophomore forward Brianna Neeley said. “We learn from our mistakes every weekend and we will keep proving that on the floor each game.”

With a necessary victory for Brockport and a New Paltz side defending its tournament-clinched position, the matchup between the two was one of the most important and competitive games of the entire conference this season. 

The game between the two heavyweights took place on Saturday, Feb. 10, at 1 p.m. From the tip-off to the final buzzer of the game, Brockport and New Paltz traded buckets and rebounds, but as play continued, Brockport’s hunger for a win took over and the team created its first lead of the game. Brockport entered the second quarter with an advantage of 14 to 13 over New Paltz. Similar to the first quarter, Brockport’s momentum came from its energy and it didn’t stop until the end of the first half of play, allowing the team to extend its lead to seven at the halftime mark. Freshman point guard Julianna Taylor’s seven points off the bench were the spark of the third quarter Brockport performance, and the team managed to go up by 15 with 2 minutes in the quarter. After a handful of turnovers, New Paltz cut Brockport’s lead down to just eight. The game was definitely not over, and with two minutes left of play, the Hawks managed to come as close as two points of Brockport after a consecutive series of threes. Despite the building pressure, senior forward Lindsay Johnson took the game in her hands and scored six points in less than two minutes to give Brockport a win and cut New Paltz’s record of 10—5 to 10—6. 

“Our team played New Paltz in its first SUNYAC game of the year and we didn’t come out with the outcome that we wanted,” junior shooting guard Megan Anagnostopulos said. “Going forward, we have learned that sticking to our defensive principles is going to win us games. So we will use our energy defensively, in order to do well down this upcoming stretch of games.”

Pure work ethic and unwillingness to give up have been two of the many reasons behind Brockport’s success this season, but the team’s biggest test will take place this upcoming weekend. With no games to spare and the future in the team’s hands, Brockport will need to win both of its last games in order to hopefully get a spot in this year’s SUNYAC tournament.

Those two matches are against a struggling Oswego side and a very strong Cortland side. If Brockport finds a winning balance between its two trips to the schools, the possibility of a top-four finish may be in the books.

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