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Women's basketball grabs key wins to reach playoffs

by Paul Cifonelli - Staff Writer
Thu, Feb 21st 2019 03:00 pm
The women's basketball team forms a huddle in anticipation for the team's last regular season match against Cortland. The Golden Eagles improbably made the SUNYAC tournament this year following two clutch wins over Oswego and Cortland and two losses from Plattsburgh. Seeded in fifth, Brockport has the same conference record, 8—10, as the fourth and sixth seeds, Cortland and Fredonia.
The women's basketball team forms a huddle in anticipation for the team's last regular season match against Cortland. The Golden Eagles improbably made the SUNYAC tournament this year following two clutch wins over Oswego and Cortland and two losses from Plattsburgh. Seeded in fifth, Brockport has the same conference record, 8—10, as the fourth and sixth seeds, Cortland and Fredonia.
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Entering the week of February 10, The College at Brockport women’s basketball team knew that it had to win in order to make the SUNYAC tournament. There were three games on the slate for the Golden Eagles; Tuesday, Feb. 12 against Geneseo, Friday, Feb. 15 against Oswego and Saturday, Feb. 16 against Cortland. Sitting just 0.5 games back of Plattsburgh, Brockport needed to win while the Cardinals lose in order to capture a playoff spot. Plattsburgh had two games this week. One was on Friday at Oneonta and the next one was on Saturday at New Paltz.

Brockport’s first game of the week did not go as planned. Geneseo came to Brockport and destroyed the Golden Eagles. The Knights got out to a 31-16 lead at halftime due to Brockport shooting just 21.2% from the field in the first half. When all was said and done, Geneseo exited with a 73-46 victory. In a three-day span, the Knights defeated the Golden Eagles by a total score of 141-95. Despite the tough game, senior forward Emily Nestler played well, which was a theme during the big week. Nestler managed 18 points and five rebounds in the contest.

After the Geneseo game, Brockport was a full game behind Plattsburgh in the standings. Plattsburgh lost to Oneonta on Friday, which meant that Brockport could tie them in the standings with a win over Oswego.

A win is exactly what the Golden Eagles got. Oswego, the worst team in the SUNYAC, was overwhelmed from the beginning. Brockport came out on fire, scoring 52 points in the first half alone. Brockport shot 57.1% from the field and 66.7% from three in the first half, a stark difference from the game before. The Golden Eagles lost some of the efficiency in the first half, but still cruised to an 82-55 victory. Sophomore guard Julianna Taylor continued her hot streak in the game with 22 points on three made three pointers in the contest. Nestler once again collected 16 points and four rebounds. 

Junior guard Bailey Pratt said the team was aware of Plattsburgh’s loss after the game. She said head coach Corinne Jones told them about the result in the locker room, but the team wanted to remain focused on taking care of business and not hoping for Plattsburgh to lose again.

“Coach told us the results of the Plattsburgh game but it didn’t really affect us or the way we played,” Pratt said. “We had our minds set on needing to win both games this weekend, so that’s what we were focused on.”

Next up was Cortland, who had already defeated Brockport this season. When the Golden Eagles traveled to Cortland, the Red Dragons won 61-51. Cortland was only a game ahead of Brockport in the standings, so the game had significant meaning for both teams.

Brockport got out to a quick start, leading 29-21 at halftime. The Golden Eagles held Cortland to just eight made field goals in the first half. Brockport’s defense held strong in the second half, so a victory was within reach. The Golden Eagles dominated the third quarter, holding the Red Dragons to just 1-8 from the field. Brockport defended its way to another win, 60-45, and with it, placed itself into a playoff spot.

Plattsburgh went to New Paltz and lost the game, meaning Brockport’s win avoided a tiebreaker between the two squads. Brockport clinched the fifth seed with the victory over Cortland.

Nestler, who averaged 17.7 points and seven rebounds over the week, knew what was at stake during this last week. She knew that this weekend would make or break her basketball career and she did not want to let anyone down. She did not disappoint and was grateful for her team’s effort in the three games.

“As a senior I couldn’t ask for anything more from my team,” Nestler said. “I knew from the start that they had my back and I had theirs. We didn’t want today to be our last game of the season and I for sure didn’t want this to be the last game of my career. I am just so thankful that we were able to make it to the postseason in my last year of playing and also to get the underclassmen experience in playoff basketball.”

Brockport, who finished the regular season with a 10—15 overall record and 8—10 conference record, will take on Cortland again in the first round of the SUNYAC tournament on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Should the Golden Eagles prevail, they will take on New Paltz. New Paltz is the first seed and defeated Brockport twice this season, both games by double digits.

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