The women’s basketball team won its final home game in the Physical Activities Center Saturday afternoon.
The team beat Saint Joseph’s College 71-31 in a high energy game. Some of that energy could be attributed to the fact that it was also Senior Day, senior forward Mary O’Keefe said.
“It’s bittersweet. We came in and we were ready for this game. We used the senior day to get us more hype instead of as a downfall,” O’Keefe said.
The team honored its seven seniors: guards Mariah Nimmo, Taylor Stevenson, Libby Ogden, Autumn Miller, and forwards Cayla Herbst, Mary O’Keefe and Anna Hackert immediately following the team’s win.
“This is the last time this group of seniors will play on this floor,” said Rick Stein, head coach. “They have fought for this court and have put up so many great numbers in their time. It’s nice to top it off with a win.”
The day was about honoring the team’s seniors, but all thirteen players on the roster had their chance on the court.
The Eagles took the lead with 16:16 left to play in the first half off of a jumper by O’Keefe and never trailed again. This, along with the team’s defense and lack of offense from the Pumas allowed Stein to be flexible with his lineups.
Stein said it is hard to play all 13 players consistently, but that all of the players are good.
“This group is deep and they all want to see each other do well,” he said.
Sophomore guard Kendyl Dearing entered the game late in the second half and hit two consecutive three-pointers that brought the Eagles’ lead to 36 points.
The excitement from the bench was clearly visible as the upperclassmen and the starters erupted after both shots.
O’Keefe said it means a lot when players who don’t always see a lot of playing time have a chance to contribute on the court.
“We have seven seniors on the team and that’s a lot, but then again we all see each other as equals,” she said. “When one of us succeeds, we take it to heart that the whole team does.”
Sophomore guard Tanner Marcum said the girls always get hype when someone comes off the bench no matter what.
Besides having three players in double figures and eight other players contributing in the single digits, the team’s defense was a force to be reckoned with.
Marcum said the team’s defense was a big factor in the win.
“We just shut them down,” she said.
O’Keefe said defense is one of the main things the team works on and the players were aware they would have to play great defense against the Pumas.
The credit for the final score goes to the team’s defense, Stein said.
“That 31 is amazing,” he said. “It was just a great defensive effort.”
The Eagles will have the chance to continue that strong defense in its final game of the regular season. The team is scheduled to face Bellarmine at 4:45 p.m. Thursday.