The women’s basketball team concluded their season with a disappointing 80–58 loss to the Denison Big Red in the first round of the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Tournament Tuesday in Granville, Ohio.
The Lady Gators made the playoffs again this season. Hopes were high after their strong showing in the championship game last year. With the top eight teams making the tournament, the Lady Gators (10–16) were seated comfortably, holding the sixth seed.
Their placement in the bracket presented them with a first round match-up with the Denison Big Red (19–7). These two teams had faced each other twice in the regular season with Denison winning both matches by a combined ten points.
Both teams came into the game with confidence. Denison closed out their season well, and the Lady Gators believed that they had improved greatly since their last two meetings. For the first half of Tuesday night’s game, it was anyone’s contest to win.
Allegheny stayed within a bucket for much of the half. Closing out the last few minutes, however, shifted the momentum to Denison. The Big Red stretched the lead to eleven at the buzzer.
The start of the second half was even more detrimental to the Allegheny’s hopes. Denison came out on a 16–4 run, and eventually stretched their lead to 30. The Lady Gators fought back to cut down the lead to 22, making the final score 80–58.
Overall, the game was a better-fought contest than the score indicated. Rebounding was almost equal, with Denison surpassing the Gators by one. Free throw shooting was a draw at 83.3 percent apiece.
The biggest differences came from behind the arc and in ball possession. The Big Red were able to capitalize on some Allegheny turnovers and also knocked down seven three-pointers.
The Lady Gators took the loss in stride. Emilie Simone, ’10, felt the loss was not indicative of the season they put together. She attributed their struggle to being a young team that had to deal with a learning curve.
The Lady Gators came a long way throughout the year. The team was able to build confidence as a group, and throughout the final game the team was aiming for a run to get them back into the game.
Nobody likes to end their final season with a loss. Simone was not defeated by this fact and realizes that only one team can come out with a victory in their last game. She was exceedingly proud of her team. Her only wish was that she could have one more year of eligibility, but she realizes this is impossible.
“I just wish I could spend another season with [the team], but I guess that’s what embodies the senior trade-off,” said Simone. “You get to move on and start a new chapter, but it’s going to be hard to be away from the girls you essentially spent every day with. I couldn’t be prouder of the girls on our team.”