Photo by Curtis Ashley / Beaver Beat
By Curtis Ashley
It was not a great ending to what has been a great season for the City College Women’s basketball team. After having one of the best seasons the program has seen in over a decade, the girls fell to Lehman College in the semifinal round of the CUNYAC Tournament. They were unable to prevail in their attempt at regaining the lead late in the game, falling 79-84.
Despite the 79-point turnout, City was unable to get the win. Lehman swept City this year, defeating them twice in the regular season and again on Wednesday. Lehman is the only team in the conference to avoid losing to the Lady Beavers, and it wasn’t easy. In three games, City lost to Lehman by a combined 19 points.
After the game the team was very emotional, expressing their feelings from the game and the season overall.
“It’s hard losing, we all know that. That feeling everyone has. Everyone is upset. We’re keeping our head up, because we did play an awesome season,” Liz Durchhalter said in a post-game interview.
“It sucks. We were talking about how we see each other as sisters and how we just became a family this year. It’s just hard,” an emotional Taylor Pompilio had to say.
It was a hard loss, but there are a lot of positives to take out of the season. Head Coach Jaime Angeli spoke on them after the game.
“I told them not to let this loss affect the incredible accomplishments they did this season.”
“I showed them a video before the game. It was kind of a highlight of our trip to Florida, and one of the things I said in the beginning of the season was we were a fragile team. But seventeen wins later we became a strong and unbreakable team. I still feel that way tonight.”
In their final game of the season, it was the starters who gave their all. Erika Richards had the game-high 37 points. Tiara Brown and Robin Daley each had a double-double. Brown had 15 points and 12 boards, Daley had 12 points and 11 boards. Durchhalter also scored in double-digits, putting up 13, along with 5 rebounds.
Towards the end of the season, the girls weren’t having trouble with scoring, and were fairly effective on defense. Their energy, confidence, chemistry was at the level it needed to be at. But if the two previous games against Lehman were indicative of anything, it was that their energy was not enough for that of Lehman. And in the end, it was the team with the incredible story versus the team with the experience.
“Offensively we just seemed to be out of sync. Shots weren’t following. First half I think we were at thirty-something percent and they were in the high forties. Second half we kind of reversed that a little bit, but again we just dug ourselves a hole,” Angeli commented. “I give a lot of credit to Lehman. They’re a very good team. That’s all I can say really.”
But City is a good team too, and will only get better even with the departure of some key players. With the 2015-16 season over, the focus will be on next season, where the team can build and recruit.
“After this loss, we see what we need to do. We’re gonna miss our seniors and a lot, but at the same time we just gotta push and keep working hard until games start,” Richards said. “We can’t hold our heads down because we put CCNY on the map. Even though we lost, we still should be proud at the same time because look where we are. Everybody doubted us and we were in the semifinals.”
“We made history. We did things that people in the previous years didn’t do, even the ones who won the championships,” Brown had to say.
“I’m just rooting for the juniors now that will be seniors next year to take the whole thing,” Daley had to say. “I think we definitely set the bar high for the next girls coming in.”
While City’s season is over, Lehman will be participating in the CUNYAC Championships against Brooklyn College. It’s scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m. and will be played in City’s Nat Holman Gymnasium.