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Women's basketball welcomes new additions as season nears

by Paul Cifonelli - Staff Writer
Wed, Nov 14th 2018 01:00 pm
Brockport senior forward, Emily Nestler, dribbles through two Cortland defenders during a game last season. Nestler and Schyler Laux will be the only seniors this upcoming season.
Brockport senior forward, Emily Nestler, dribbles through two Cortland defenders during a game last season. Nestler and Schyler Laux will be the only seniors this upcoming season.

After the 2017-2018 season that featured streaks of greatness and despair, The College at Brockport women’s basketball team is looking to rebound and make a more consistent effort this year. 

An overall losing record of 12—14 did not look good on paper, but the team’s 10—8 SUNYAC record was good enough to earn a trip to the SUNYAC tournament. The Golden Eagles will look to improve their record against non-conference opponents that finished at 2—5 last year. However, the players, including sophomore guard Julianna Taylor, are looking to improve on their SUNYAC record from last season.

“The team expectations for the season are to get top four in the SUNYAC and be able to host a playoff game,” Taylor said.

After finishing fifth in the conference last year, Brockport was the only one of five teams in the league to finish with 10 SUNYAC wins to not earn home court advantage. However, making the jump into the top four will be tough.

Brockport had nine players appear in a game last year. There were 10 players on the roster, but junior forward Emily Merrill missed all of last season. There was only one senior on last season’s squad, Lindsay Johnson. Johnson was the team’s leader in scoring and rebounding during her senior campaign. Replacing her production will be tricky, but a large and talented freshman class will help.

The eight incoming freshmen will be key for the Golden Eagles this season. The four freshmen guards are Chelsea Henry, Mackenzie Grube, Morgan Elmer and Ari Blaasch. The forwards are Allison Chiera, Nicole Leslie, Kylee Rosbrook and Heidi Miller. The newcomers will be depended upon to offer the much needed depth the team lacked last season. 

“Our freshmen are so talented,” senior guard, Schyler Laux said. “They need a little confidence boost to be themselves and take over sometimes, but they have so much to offer and I’m excited for the upcoming season.”

Being a freshman on a college team can be tough mentally. There are veteran members who played significant minutes last year and other freshmen eager to make their mark. However, Rosbrook said she has really enjoyed making the transition from high school basketball to college basketball.

“Playing with better players, everyone knows what they’re doing,” Rosbrook said.

While the freshmen are settling into their new roles, a strong cast of returners will provide a steady foundation. Senior forward Emily Nestler, junior guard Bailey Pratt, sophomore guard Zaria McCullough and Laux all started at least 23 of the team’s 26 games last year. Laux and Nestler are the leading scorers among the returners, each averaging 11 points per game. Nestler also leads the returners in rebounding, pulling in 6.6 rebounds per contest last season. McCullough led the team in assists last year, dishing out 3.7 dimes per game.

Junior forward Brianna Neely, Merrill and Taylor are the only other returners for this season. Neely and Taylor played in 23 and 26 games last year, respectively. Neely averaged 3.6 points and 3.5 rebounds per game last season, while Taylor averaged 4.2 points and 2.7 rebounds. In her freshman season back in 2016-17, Merrill averaged 1.7 points and 3.4 rebounds over 10 games.

Laux and Nestler, the lone seniors, look to lead the team through its non-conference schedule and put together enough momentum to attain its goal of hosting a SUNYAC tournament game.

The Brockport women’s basketball season opens at home against St. John Fisher on Tuesday Nov. 13. On Friday, Nov. 16 and Saturday,  Nov. 17, Brockport hosts the Brockport Tip Off Tournament. On Friday, Houghton College will play Morrisville State in one semifinal, while Brockport takes on D’Youville in the nightcap. 

The Golden Eagles will look to use the non-league slate as a launching pad into a successful season beginning on Tuesday, Nov. 13.

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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