Lakers fall short in last home game

Senior Jenn Robbins paced Oswego State tonight with 16 points in the team's 51-50 loss versus The College at Brockport Golden Eagles at Max Ziel Gymnasium in Laker Hall (David Armelino | The Oswegonian).
Senior Jenn Robbins paced Oswego State Tuesday night with 16 points in the team’s 51-50 loss versus The College at Brockport Golden Eagles at Max Ziel Gymnasium in Laker Hall (David Armelino | The Oswegonian).

The last home game of the season brought both cheers and tears on Tuesday night as the Oswego State women’s basketball team (2-15 in SUNYAC, 6-18 overall) fell to the College at Brockport Golden Eagles (5-11, 9-14), 51-50.

Brockport got off to a fast start and took control of the game early on. The Golden Eagles held Oswego State scoreless for the first five and a half minutes, while taking an early 9-0 lead. However, The Lakers were able to make their way back, only trailing by four at halftime, 21-17.

The comeback was due to several traveling violations against Brockport, which would become a theme throughout the game for both teams.

Once Oswego State was able to make up the ground they had lost in the first half, the battle was on.  Several lead changes paved the way for a dramatic finish.

With under a minute left and the game tied at 48, sophmore Heather Hebert split the defense and sunk a layup to put the Lakers up by two with 13.9 seconds left in the game.

The Golden Eagles took the ball immediately down the floor and senior Alexandra Marshall converted a three-point play with 10.4 seconds remaining to give Brockport the lead back for good.

Oswego State senior Jenn Robbins brought the ball up court for the final possession of the game, but she dribbled the ball into a trap and was forced to kick it out to Alison Nunziato.

The freshman was able to get a shot off with less than a second remaining; however, the shot bounced off the rim with no time remaining for a second shot after the rebound.

Robbins led the Lakers in her final home game with 16 points, shooting 3-for-9 from three-point range and 6-for-17 from the field overall. Hebert finished with eight points and a team-high seven rebounds, including three on the offensive glass.

Tonight’s loss was the Lakers’ 11th straight in SUNYAC play and despite the season going downhill after a promising start, head coach Tracy Bruno loved what she saw out of her team down the stretch.

“They’re still battling,” Bruno said.  “It still matters (to them) that they win, they’re still putting forth the effort, but the ball just hasn’t bounced our way.”

Bruno noted how her team could’ve just thrown in the towel after being eliminated from conference tournament contention, but the fight that her team has shown is unparalleled.

Looking into the foreseeable future, Bruno believes that replacing her three seniors will be the most challenging.  Robbins, Lauren Nunziato and Paula Eggleston were three key parts to the formula for the Lakers this season, and replacing them will be anything but easy, but Bruno is optimistic.

“There are certainly moments with our younger players,” Bruno said.  “Alison Nunziato rotated into the starting lineup, I think she has a huge upside, and with Tayler and Mary at the point guard, I think there’s a lot of things to be excited about.”

Bruno also believes that the way her team finished will motivate them in the offseason to improve upon their shortcomings.

Recruiting is another positive that Bruno is happy about going forward, on top of who she is bringing back.

There is one particular player which Bruno will be very happy to have on her roster for a full season next year, junior transfer Haley Witchella.  Witchella joined the team in the middle of December, so Bruno is excited to see her develop further next year after the success she has already achieved.

Oswego State will finish off its regular season on Saturday afternoon at SUNY Cortland (10-7, 14-10). Tip off is set for 2 p.m at Whitney T. Corey Gymnasium.