Lakers lose overtime thriller

Sophomore Heather Hebert drives between two SUNY Cortland defenders and rises up for a layup in Oswego State’s 72-66 overtime loss to the Red Dragons.  (David Armelino | The Oswegonian)
Sophomore Heather Hebert drives between two SUNY Cortland defenders and rises up for a layup in Oswego State’s 72-66 overtime loss to the Red Dragons. (David Armelino | The Oswegonian)

Senior Night for the Oswego State women’s basketball team lived up to the hype on Saturday night, but the Lakers dropped an overtime thriller to SUNY Cortland, 72-66.

Oswego State’s Brittany Pachard, Lauren Nunziato, Paula Egleston and Jenn Robbins each played well despite the loss.

The game went back and forth with several lead changes. Oswego State started the game out strong, taking a 10-4 lead in the opening minutes, but Cortland went on a run of its own, eventually gaining a five-point advantage midway through the first half.

Toward the end of the first half, Nunziato and Robbins each found their rhythms, nailing several tough shots from behind the arc to give the Oswego State a 35-29 halftime advantage over the Red Dragons.

The second half featured more of the same back and forth play that was present throughout the first half.

The intensity increased as the game continued, as players would become visibly excited over big plays, and get noticeably more frustrated over mistakes they made.

The drama reached its peak at the end of the game with Cortland clinging to a two-point lead with only a minute remaining in the game.

Alison Nunziato then hit a clutch two-point shot to tie the game. However, Cortland answered right back to reclaim the lead once again.

Oswego State had a chance to win the game in regulation after Lauren Nunziato hit a lay up to tie the game.

Cortland then turned the ball over after a traveling violation, leaving Oswego State with nine seconds and a chance to steal the victory.

Heather Hebert got the ball down low, but was unable to get a shot off in time, sending the game into overtime.

Cortland took over late in the extra period. The Red Dragons’ three-point shooters were too much for Oswego State to overcome, as the Lakers were unable to mount a last-minute comeback.

The Lakers may not have come out with the win, but Senior Night proved to be a great game with a lot of emotion displayed by the players.  Oswego State head coach Tracy Bruno thought the energy in Max Ziel Gymnasium was a fitting scene for Senior Day.

“It’s what we’ve been looking for,” Bruno said.  “Putting forth 40 minutes of effort, not just defensively, but that emotional intensity, you know sort of being present in the game for the entire time, and I thought that without question we did that.”

The game was the penultimate time that the Lakers’ four seniors will play in front of the Oswego State faithful at home.

Lauren Nunziato, Robbins, Egleston and Pichard will have one home game left in their careers. Bruno said their contributions to the team and the community will be missed.

“They’re huge losses,” Bruno said.  “From a basketball standpoint, it’s our leading scorer, our leading three-point shooter, one of our better rebounders and one of our smarter players.

“We lose them for leadership on the floor and in the classroom and the things that they do for us as an entire athletic department.”

The Lakers play once more at home this season on Feb. 18 against The College at Brockport. They will hit the road this weekend, when the squad will take on SUNY Potsdam (5-15, 3-10 SUNYAC) on Friday before traveling to SUNY Plattsburgh to take on the Cardinals (16-4, 11-2 SUNYAC).