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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

After NE-10 Quarterfinal Defeat, Saint Rose Women’s Basketball Shifts Focus to NCAA Tournament

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ALBANY —‍ The game may be over, but the journey‌ isn’t.

The women’s basketball⁤ team of Saint Rose may have⁤ suffered⁣ a defeat in the Northeast-10 quarterfinal on Sunday against Southern Connecticut State University, but the Golden Knights are ⁢not ⁤ready to hang up their boots. They are now focusing on the NCAA Division II tournament.

“They have earned ⁤a spot in the NCAA​ Tournament,” stated Saint ⁣Rose coach ⁢Will Brown. “If we‌ don’t secure one,‌ I’ll​ personally drive to Indianapolis, where I believe the ‌NCAA headquarters ​are, and stage a protest.”

On Sunday, Saint Rose, ranked No. 3, hosted its ⁤first⁤ home playoff ‌game since 2012, but ⁤unfortunately lost to No. 6 Southern Connecticut 58-53.

“The⁣ result was not what we had hoped for or desired,” admitted Saint Rose’s Payton Graber. “We found ourselves in‌ a bit of a predicament that we had to claw our way out of. We put up a strong fight towards‌ the end, but it‌ wasn’t sufficient. However, that’s alright.”

Now with a 21-6 overall record, Saint ⁣Rose ⁣is‌ eagerly waiting for the results ​of the ‍Division ⁣II tournament selection show, which will ‍be aired next Sunday at 10:30 p.m.

“We ⁣have given ourselves a chance to still make it to the NCAA Tournament, ​so we’re⁢ going to stay positive and keep pushing.”

In the⁣ first quarter,​ Graber scored a 3-pointer to give ⁢Saint Rose its first lead of the game, ⁣which it held onto until the third quarter.

Despite a tough fight, the Owls⁣ managed to gain⁢ momentum and establish a 12-point lead with just 3:36 left in the fourth quarter.

That’s when Saint Rose​ turned the tables, staging ⁤a ‌comeback. The Golden Knights⁣ used three steals to go on a 9-0 run, reducing the gap to just ‍three points, 54-51.

Forced to foul, Southern Connecticut made⁢ their free throws in the⁤ final ⁣moments, securing a 58-53 quarterfinal victory.

“We were ranked 11‍ out of 12 ⁣in the preseason poll,” Brown reflected, “and now we’re discussing our disappointment in the conference tournament and our chances of getting a ⁢NCAA ‍Tournament bid.”

“Many of us are feeling quite downcast right ‌now, but that’s because of the⁤ high standards we set⁣ for ourselves.”

For Brown, in ‌his debut season at Saint ⁣Rose, understanding that the​ program hasn’t seen much playoff ⁤success in over a decade means anticipating​ some learning curves in high-pressure situations.

“None of our players have faced expectations like this,” Brown explained. “No one has played in such significant games. By significant ​games, I mean being a higher seed in the quarterfinals of ‍a conference tournament, third in the region and likely ​to get‍ an NCAA Tournament ⁤bid. Sometimes, this ⁢can ⁤make you a bit tense and nervous.”

Graber led Saint Rose with ⁢18 points, six rebounds, four assists⁢ and two‍ steals.​ Kaelah Carter added ‍13 points, and ​Syrita⁢ Faraj contributed 10 points and six rebounds. Aniya ⁤McDonald-Perry and ⁢Maddisyn Mahoney each secured nine rebounds.

“Of course, it’s disappointing and sad because it’s the end of Saint Rose, but I think it’s okay and we’re going to make a run in the tournament,” Graber said of the loss. “We would have loved to play here again. Everyone’s a bit emotional,‌ as it’s possibly ​the last​ game ever in this building. It’s tough, but we have many happy memories here that we’ll ⁢cherish.”

Southern Connecticut 13 10 15 20 — 58

Saint Rose 17 8 10 ⁢18 — 53

SCSU scoring: Helms 6-2-15; Steinauer 5-4-14; Haines‍ 3-0-9; Bonilla ⁤2-0-6; Williamson 2-0-4; Evans 2-0-4; Martin 1-0-2; Milner‌ 1-0-2; Fox‌ 1-0-2. Saint Rose‍ scoring: Graber 6-5-18; Carter 5-2-13; Faraj 4-0-10; McDonald-Perry 2-2-6; Mahoney 0-4-4; ⁢Blasetti 1-0-2. Team‍ scoring: SCSU ⁢23-6-58; Saint Rose​ 18-13-53.

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Jack Sullivan
Jack Sullivan
Jack Sullivan, an informed and passionate sports reporter, is a former college athlete with a degree in Sports Communication from Ithaca College. Go Bombers!
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2 COMMENTS

  1. Disagree – Disappointing loss, but still a chance to bounce back in NCAA Tournament. #ontothenext #gogoldenknights

  2. Agree – The defeat was tough, but the NCAA Tournament is a new opportunity for the team to showcase their skills and make a strong comeback. #keepfighting

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