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Women's basketball inches closer to playoff spot on Senior Day

by Paul Cifonelli - Sports Editor
Wed, Feb 19th 2020 02:00 pm
Seniors Bailey Pratt and Emily Merrill celebrated their Senior Day on Saturday, Feb. 15. Brockport lost the game 71-59, but Pratt scored 18 points for the Golden Eagles.
Seniors Bailey Pratt and Emily Merrill celebrated their Senior Day on Saturday, Feb. 15. Brockport lost the game 71-59, but Pratt scored 18 points for the Golden Eagles.

Senior Day can bring out plenty of emotion for a team, especially the graduating players. When the players being recognized also happen to be important members of the team, it makes the game that much tougher, as keeping a level head can be more difficult when emotions are high. For The College at Brockport women’s basketball team, it had to deal with all of that while also needing a win on Saturday, Feb. 15.

Brockport hosted SUNY Geneseo on its Senior Day, when guard Bailey Pratt and forward Emily Merrill were recognized. Pratt has been one of the Golden Eagles’ best players all season, ranking third on the team in points per game, second in three point percentage and first in 3-pointers made. Merrill has not played this season due to injury but has been a valuable member of the team for the past four seasons.

The emotions for Merrill were both different and similar to Pratt’s on the day of their final home game.

“Senior Day was very bittersweet,” Merrill said. “Bailey and I never thought it was going to be us. Seeing so many great seniors go before us, it’s weird that it’s our turn. I’m really happy to just have been a part of such a great program. Leaving it will be tough but I know it’s going to go great places.”

Putting the emotions in the backseat and playing was always going to be difficult during this game for Pratt, but the people in attendance helped her with that.

“It was just looking at all my friends and family in the stands that came out to see me,” Pratt said. “Then I was like, ‘I’m just going to play for them.’ And then my teammates made this day really special for me. So I just got out there, relaxed and played my game.”

The game did not get off to a great start for Brockport, as Geneseo scored seven unanswered points to begin the game. The Knights went into the first quarter media timeout with a 19-9 lead, then proceeded to go on an 11-0 run to end the quarter with a 30-9 advantage.

Geneseo never let Brockport, who won the first matchup between the two teams this season, back into the game. The Knights were able to open up a lead as big as 24 points, doing it in both the second and third quarters. The closest Brockport was able to get was 12 points, which came in the final 10 seconds of the game. When the final buzzer sounded, Geneseo came away with a 71-59 victory.

Despite the loss, there were positives to take from the game for Brockport. Geneseo, who has only lost four games all season, only won the first quarter. Brockport outscored its opponent in both the second and fourth quarters, while the teams tied in the third. Pratt led the way offensively in her final home game, scoring 18 points on six made 3-pointers. While she will get the credit for her offensive success, it was her teammates who helped her get open looks at the basket.

“My teammates set great screens for me,” Pratt said. “Plus, [head] coach [Corinne Jones] made up some new plays this week in practice because we knew they were going to face guard me. So we ran some new plays that they didn’t know to get me open and my teammates just looking for me and getting me the ball helped.”

Junior guard Julianna Taylor also pitched in 10 points and four assists. Sophomore guard Chelsea Henry came close to a double-double, scoring eight points and grabbing nine rebounds in the contest.

Even though Brockport suffered its ninth SUNYAC loss of the season, it put itself even closer to locking up a spot in the SUNYAC Tournament. The Golden Eagles sit at 7—9 in conference play with two games remaining. A win in either game will solidify the spot. SUNY Oneonta and SUNY Potsdam are also in the mix for one of the final two spots. The Red Dragons own a 7—8 conference record with three games left, while the Bears are 5—11 with two remaining. Potsdam will host Oneonta on Friday, Feb. 21. If Oneonta wins, Potsdam will be eliminated.

Brockport’s final two regular season games are on Friday, Feb. 21, and Saturday, Feb. 22. The Golden Eagles travel to take on SUNY Cortland on Friday and SUNY Oswego on Saturday.

Photo of the Week

Taken by Vincent Croce:
Staff Photographer

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