By: Dylan O'Loughlin
Brockport, NY --- The Brockport Golden Eagles women's basketball team sat in the sixth and final playoff spot in the SUNYAC and on a two-game win streak heading into their matchup against the Oswego State Lakers. The Golden Eagles, powered by Zairea Hannah were able to extend their streak to three and move up to fourth in the SUNYACs in a 71-55 victory.
Zairea Hannah (#30) set the all-time record for rebounds in a season in Brockport history (Photo Credits: Myles Goddard/Brockport Athletics)
"I think [Hannah] played within herself," Brockport head coach Corrine Jones said. "I mean, I knew when she asked me last night to get in the gym today that she knew what type of game she could have. They remember the game we played there, and it wasn't great, so I think she was just ready. She boards the ball great, and she knew we needed her to do that down the stretch. I'm proud of her, I'm happy for her and she deserves it."
Hannah led the way for Brockport as she finished a double-double, recording 19 points and 16 rebounds on the day along with a +/- of 35 when she was on the court. Hannah would also complete a historic feat, getting the most rebounds ever in a season for this Golden Eagles team.
"It's really a big thing," Hannah said. "Because just playing my position, it's going to be hard rebounding and all the contact that comes with it, it just shows me how hard I've been working and it's paying off."
The game started right where Brockport left off in their last game against Cortland. After shooting 51% from the field overall that game they opened up the game shooting 10-for-17 (58%) from the field and 3-for-7 (43%) from three. Six players would put points on the board for the Golden Eagles and they would open up a 12-point lead to end the first, 24-12.
But, just like the last time these two teams met, the Lakers fought their way back from the deficit. Giavanna White-Principio led the way scoring for the Lakers as she had nine in the quarter and they would fight back to a tie game heading into the half, 34-34. Brockport found themselves in a situation again where they were on the ropes.
"I love Ted Lasso...just be a goldfish right," Jones said. "And at this point, just reminding them at half it's a tie game. We're right where we want to be right, 0-0 and what matters down the stretch is defense and rebounding and I really think we did that. Then we adjusted some things offensively and they just listen to what we have to say. They're coachable, and that's what you have to do down the stretch, especially in February.
The third quarter was a back-and-forth defensive battle. Out of the 12 points Brockport scored in the third, Hannah contributed seven of them. The Lakers, on the other hand, scored two more points than the Golden Eagles in the quarter, but they shared the wealth. Five players contributed to the scoring for Oswego State in the third.
Mandy Brink got the start vs Oswego and finished with 15 points (Photo Credits: Liv Metz/Brockport Athletics)
When it hit the fourth, the switch flipped for the Golden Eagles. The scoring got kicked off with a Brink triple that gave them the one-point lead and they never looked back. The freshman would lead the way in scoring for the Golden Eagles as she had 9 of her 15 in the quarter.
"She's a dawg, D-A-W-G," Coach Jones said about Brink. "She's tough, I mean we knew that coming out of high school, but she's doing it at the colligate level and I can't say I'm surprised."
Brink wasn't the only player doing damage. Hannah dominated the game, including the end, as she hauled in five points and nine rebounds to add to her total, and Anna Lee tallied up five points as well. Along with great defense, the Golden Eagles won the quarter 25-7 and win the game.
Stephanie Jean-Baptiste (#1) finished with 16 points off the bench (Photo Credits: Liv Metz/Brockport Athletics)
"Really we just went in with a dog in us," Brink said. "We really thought that we can pull this game out especially after losing to Oswego last time. And I just feel like our connection is there and if we keep continuing to play like this, I feel like it'll turn out good."
To go along with Hannah, Brockport's Stephanie Jean-Baptiste continued her hot streak over recent games and finished with 16 points and six rebounds. Brink finished with 15 points and Lee finished with 11. For the Lakers, White-Principio finished with 15 points and nine rebounds, one shy of a double-double and Macey DeOrdio was the next highest scorer with eight.
The Brockport Golden Eagles (13-11, 9-8) now jump up to fourth in the SUNYAC standings with the win against Oswego State (12-10, 8-8) and Oneonta (10-13, 8-8) falling to New Paltz. They look to carry this momentum into their final game of the season.
"Yeah, I don't think anyone wants to play us at home right now," Jones said. "So, we're really good and they got to come in and got to play us. We'll have a great gameplan, we know their stuff. We got to keep playing offensively, carefree, we got to rebound, we got to defend, and let's just finish it. It's a great stretch right now for us."
Brockport Head Coach Corrine Jones coaching up her team (Photo Credits: Liv Metz/Brockport Athletics)
Brockport's next game will be next Saturday, February 17, for Senior Day at The Vlog as they take on the Geneseo Knights. Last time they played, the Golden Eagles had Geneseo on the ropes before fourth-quarter struggles enabled the Knights to get the victory. Brockport looks to not only clinch playoffs, but a chance to host the first round of SUNYACs. The battle between the third and fourth seeds in the SUNYAC is set to be a good one with tip-off scheduled for 2 p.m.