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W. Bball relies on the process after SUNYAC fall-out

by Panagiotis Argitis
Tue, Feb 27th 2018 10:00 pm
The College at Brockport women's basketball team (above) huddles prior to one of its last games of the season. Brockport's season came to an end a week ago in a semifinal loss of 68-56 to New Paltz. The team's trip to the SUNYAC tournament was its third consecutive appearance of the competition. Despite their elimination, the Golden Eagles are statistically getting closer to claiming the SUNYAC title.
The College at Brockport women's basketball team (above) huddles prior to one of its last games of the season. Brockport's season came to an end a week ago in a semifinal loss of 68-56 to New Paltz. The team's trip to the SUNYAC tournament was its third consecutive appearance of the competition. Despite their elimination, the Golden Eagles are statistically getting closer to claiming the SUNYAC title.

The steps of the ladder that lead to ultimate success and overall victory are often overshadowed by the pure desire to reach the top, but the obstacles conquered and the progress achieved during those steps are what separates one from the rest. Unfortunately, The College at Brockport women’s basketball team was eliminated from the SUNYAC tournament this past week by New Platz in the first round of the competition. But hidden underneath the reality of the tournament fall out, the relentless fighting spirit that defined the team’s core and perseverance this season is part of a process that has yet to finish.

Improvement requires patience and the Golden Eagles have displayed that every single year. A closer look at the numbers provides a bigger picture behind the team’s road to success, a picture that might now seem out of focus, but will soon be clear. 

The Brockport women’s basketball program has been on an uphill rise since the 2012-13 season, where the team finished with a conference record of 4—14. Since then, the organization has gradually improved  with each passing year, growing in every aspect of the game. From shooting efficiency and defensive outputs to team consistency, Brockport has been slowly creeping up the SUNYAC ranks and isn’t far from getting to the top. 

The 2017-18 season marked the best overall conference result in the past 10 years of the program’s history, an achievement that is only projected to be broken by next year’s campaign. Additionally, the team’s trip to the SUNYACs this past weekend was its third consecutive appearance in the competition, a record that was last broken in 2008. Numbers don’t lie, and based on Brockport’s annual form, there is only room for improvement from here. 

Apart from the Golden Eagles’ hard work and uncompromising mentality, a key element that has played a major role in the organization’s gradual success is consistency. Found across the board of Brockport’s rise to the top, consistency has stemmed from play structure to the scouting of freshmen talent, and in return has evolved a bottom tier .167 win percentage team to a serious championship contender. 

Brockport’s final game of the season was played against the New Paltz Hawks on Tuesday, Feb. 1, at New Paltz’s home court. The Hawks’ fourth seed finish over the Golden Eagles’ fifth seed finish in the playoffs meant the Hawks home court advantage, which is huge for a tournament game. Despite playing away from home, Brockport had a 1—1 record against New Paltz during the team’s two season meetings, winning the last of the two 70-63. 

The game-opening tip-off was won by Brockport and the team took to a bright start, and led the home side by 13-11 with two minutes until the end of the first quarter after an impressive offensive performance of seven points by sophomore forward Bailey Pratt. The second quarter was a different story for Brockport. As the noise of the gymnasium crowd rose, so did the confidence of New Paltz’s three-point shooters, taking the lead away from Brockport and extending it by 10 points. Brockport fought back and managed to stay within striking distance before heading into halftime, cutting the Hawks’ advantage to seven points. 

Although the team managed to end the first half on a positive note, the second half proved for the complete opposite. The Golden Eagles’ start to the game’s second half was a defensive nightmare.   

The Golden Eagles saw their chance of making it to the semifinals slip away as they gave away six turnovers in the span of four minutes in the third, allowing for an 11-0 run from the Hawks that put the dagger in the hearts of Brockport’s hopes of bringing home the 2018 SUNYAC Title. New Paltz advanced to the SUNYAC semifinals with a victory of 68-56. 

The finale of Brockport’s season also saw senior forward Lindsay Johnson end her last college career game with a team-high 15 points, which tallied in for her 16th double-figure scoring game of the season. Brockport’s exciting prospect, freshman point guard Zaria McCullough, finished her freshman season in style, notching in a double-figure scoring night with 10 while creating four buckets for her teammates in the process.

“One lesson I’ve learned from my first season with the organization is that I have to bounce back from games that didn’t go well, no matter the circumstance,” McCullough said. “As for the future of the team, we will definitely miss Lindsay next year but we won’t forget the virtues she put us in. We will continue to work towards the process.”   

The journey to being named SUNYAC champions is long but Brockport has shown that it’s got what it takes to be number one year-in and year-out. It’s all just part of the process of getting there.