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Women’s basketball drops regular season finale to Brewers

Graduate+student+guard+Camryn+Coffey+prepares+to+step+up+on+defense+in+the+Bombers+senior+day+loss+to+Vassar+College+on+Feb.+17.+
Clark Roque Royandoyan
Graduate student guard Camryn Coffey prepares to step up on defense in the Bombers’ senior day loss to Vassar College on Feb. 17.

The Ithaca College women’s basketball team was defeated 66–59 by the Vassar College Brewers on Feb.17 in their final regular season game, snapping a five-game winning streak.

The Bombers needed a win today and a loss by Skidmore College to secure the second seed in the upcoming Liberty League championships. As it stands today, the Bombers will take the third seed behind the Thoroughbreds, while the Brewers will keep the top seed.

The Bombers also celebrated Senior Day, recognizing senior guards Graycen Dubin, Hannah Polce and Camryn Coffey, along with graduate student guard June Dickson before tipoff.

All four upperclassmen earned a spot in the starting lineup, with junior forward Anya Watkins rounding out the first five for the Bombers. The game was a dogfight from the jump, with the Brewers playing with some added fire after unexpectedly dropping their last game to the William Smith College Herons. The Bombers, taking a cue from the Herons, broke out a 2-3 zone to start the game, but the Brewers would not fall for the same trick two games in a row. Clean passing allowed the Brewers to find open looks and end the first quarter with an 18–17 lead.

The Bombers started the second quarter with some fire of its own, going on a seven-point run punctuated by a clean end-to-end play by Polce to put the Brewers on their heels early in the quarter. Not to be deterred, junior guard Tova Gelb dropped 16 of her game-high 22 points in the first half to keep things in hand for the Brewers. Sophomore guard Sierra McDermed beat the buzzer to give Vassar a 35–34 lead going into halftime.

The third quarter saw the Bombers go back to its roots as a player-to-player team and it paid off as the Brewers’ scoring machine began to slow down, but the Bombers still could not capitalize on the other end of the floor, stifled by pressure from the Brewers. Ill-advised passes prevented the Bombers from finding any rhythm. Both squads were neck and neck, with free throws putting the Bombers at a 48–42 deficit with one quarter left to play.

The South Hill squad spent the opening minutes of the fourth quarter clawing its way back to within one score, finally getting there on a three-pointer from Dickson, who led her team with 13 points for the day. The teams traded buckets until sophomore guard Naiya Kurnik hit a huge three of her own for the Brewers that proved to be the final straw. Free throws made up the final moments of the game as the Brewers escaped Ben Light Gymnasium with the victory.

Head coach Dan Raymond acknowledged that his team fought hard, but also said that he was frustrated with small mistakes that defined the game.

“It’s really just just about the little things, the details, things like that,” Raymond said. “They killed us on the offensive glass, their second chance points really hurt us, not even in terms of field goals, just them getting to the line. Then the turnovers that we committed, just not recognizing who’s in what position on defense, so little things like that.”

To Raymond’s point, the Brewers doubled the Bombers in offensive boards, grabbing 16 to their eight, while also converting 20 free throw attempts. In addition, the Bombers committed 16 turnovers.

The loss puts the Bombers at 20–5 for the regular season. Raymond noted that the season was successful but there was potential for even more success.

“It’s one of those things where, the first half of the season we had, the teams we beat, our expectations were really high,” Raymond said. “So to have four losses in the league… against good teams to be fair — Vassar and Skidmore are really good teams — so on one hand you look back and you think ‘Oh, we won 20 games and that’s good,’ but on the other hand, you think about what we could have done.”

The Bombers will open postseason play by hosting the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers for the Liberty League quarterfinal on Feb. 27 in Ben Light Gymnasium at a time to be announced later.

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