The Oswego State women’s basketball team ended its season last week, finishing with an overall record of 12-14, which grabbed the team a spot in the SUNYAC playoffs.
The season began with the Lakers winning seven of their first 10 contests, including a comeback win in the championship game of the Max Ziel Women’s Basketball tournament against Mount St. Vincent College. Oswego State battled back from a 14-point deficit to win the championship on its home court.
“It was important for us to start off the season by winning our tournament and I think it propelled us well into the start of conference play,” head coach Tracy Bruno said.
The win certainly did propel the Lakers far; the team won its first three conference games against SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Plattsburgh and then at the College at Brockport. The Lakers went on a short skid, dropping two conference games at SUNY Fredonia and Buffalo State, but then took on three out of conference opponents, going 2-1. In Oswego, the Lakers defeated Cazenovia by a score of 87-50, then in the NYU New Year’s Classic, the Lakers went 1-1, dropping a contest to New York University and defeating Farmingdale State College in a close contest, 52-46.
Following the New Year’s Classic at NYU came the biggest win of the Lakers’ season. The night before tipoff against SUNY Oneonta, the Lakers dropped a game against SUNY New Paltz, a game in which they led by 13 points at halftime. “We were all incredibly disappointed in that loss,” Bruno said.
The team carried its feelings from New Paltz into the game against Oneonta and won 55-49.
“The win gave us the extra push and extra confidence we needed,” senior guard Kayla Ryan said.
The second half of the season was a streaky one for the Lakers. Three straight losses against SUNY Cortland, SUNY Geneseo and Plattsburgh put them at 4-7 in conference play. The Lakers added two more wins to their SUNYAC total when they went into Potsdam and left with a 58-50 victory. Junior guard/forward Kari Kipper led the Lakers with 22 points.
“We lost a tough one at Plattsburgh the night before and she came out determined,” Bruno said.
Kipper’s hot hand would continue into the next game when she topped her previous career-high of 22 points with 24 and helped hand Brockport a 83-64 loss.
The Lakers would then go on to drop five consecutive games, but not without a strong effort.
Three of the five losses were by 10 points or less, and against Cortland the Lakers lost by three, despite having four players scoring in double digits.
Despite a dismal final few weeks of the season, the Lakers stood tall against Fredonia on Senior Day, 72-66, which ended their regular season.
“We really came out motivated to win for our seniors Jenna Rossi and Kayla Ryan,” Bruno said.
Ryan led the Lakers in scoring for the season, which earned her second-team SUNYAC honors. In all four years of her Laker career, Ryan received All-Conference recognition.
The Lakers achieved their season-long goal of making the SUNYAC tournament, but they were unable to make it past the first round as they fell to Oneonta, 53-40. Despite the team advancing as far as it did, Bruno still felt a little disappointed.
“We definitely feel like we left some wins off the schedule,“ Bruno said. “As we took on some of the tougher teams in our conference, we were tied at half or down 2-3 on the road and up at half at home. The positive spin on that is that we know we are capable of playing with and beating the best teams in our conference.”