Bears on the Hunt

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NYIT Athletics

Photography by NYIT Athletics

Every team follows what they believe in. This women’s basketball team lives by four core values each time they step on the court.

“We must COMMUNICATE, VALUE DEFENSE, STAY STRONG MENTALLY, and PRACTICE GOOD SHOT SELECTION. If we live by this code, I like our chances,” said Coach Anthony Crocitto.

“Coach keeps raising the standards and level of commitment,” said Dina Ragab, Senior Captain of the Bears. “The four core values have helped our team to keep building and pushing towards our legacy.”

The four core values are being displayed by the Bears this season in a tremendous fashion. NYIT started out the conference season on a 15 game winning streak which ended on February 13th against Molloy. Their record is currently 15-1 in conference play and 21-6 overall.

Before conference game season got underway in December, the Bears had already 10 games under their belt including non-conference games and appearances in the CCA Division II Tipoff Classic in Anaheim, California and the ECC/NE10 Challenge. Even though the team went 5-5 in that span, the amount of games played allowed the team to be prepared for their ECC matchups.

“The many tough teams we played at the beginning of the season helped prepare us for the ECC season,” said Ragab. “As the season goes on, it is more important than ever to keep building our team and to stay closer together. The players on our team make it easy and enjoyable to be a captain.”

Once conference season began, the Bears started off as the hottest team in the ECC and have remained that way. NYIT is playing sound basketball offensively and defensively as it has showed in the ECC leader board that consists of 11 teams. Individually, the team is in the top of various categories offensively and defensively in the conference that can be seen on eccsports.org.

“Being on this team is such an amazing experience,” said sophomore guard Nina Vukosavljevic, who currently leads the ECC and is in the top ten of the NCAA Division II leader boards for assists according to ncaa.com. “As a team, we’ve grown so much since we started back in the fall and I’m very confident that we can win it all this year if we continue to put in the hard work.”

“Each night, we are proving we have many scoring options and our ladies are all valuing the emphasis we are putting on rebounding,” said Coach Crocitto.

Junior Captain Shannon Duer is valuing that emphasis on rebounds and is having a career season. She was awarded ECC Player of Week 3 after averaging 18 points and 17 rebounds during that week. In the NCAA Division II leader boards, she is currently in the top ten for rebounds and is top in double doubles.

As the season progressed, the team also welcomed a familiar face. Volleyball Senior Captain Kate Brock joined the Bears as a forward. Before coming to NYIT, she was a double sport varsity athlete at River Dell High School in New Jersey but decided to focus on volleyball at the college level. Coming off an appearance in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight Tournament appearance in volleyball this season, Brock is looking to accomplish even more with Women’s basketball.

“It is great being on the team this year,” said Brock. “Even though I came half way into the season, I like to think I can make a contribution for pushing players in practice and team support. After playing four years and being a two-year volleyball captain, I like to think I can also carry over leadership and experience in high pressure games.”

“Kate Brock is a warrior with a winner’s mentality,” said Coach Crocitto. “She is expected to step in, fight for playing time, and help us win ball games. I am proud to, once again, add a player from Gail Wasmus’ program as you can never go wrong with that decision.”

Milestones were also reached in the first half. Ragab joined the 1,000 points club in the team’s first game in California. She also became the all time shot blocker in a close 65-60 win over Queens College and that same week received Week 8 ECC player of the week honors.

However, the biggest accomplishment came on January 9th against Molloy. Coach Crocitto secured his 100th career win in a 70-56 victory.

“Our players, staff and support here at NYIT are all responsible for 100 wins,” said Coach Crocitto. “However, in the end, the players win the games, not me.  I am sincerely appreciative of the attention from it.  It is great for our program.”
If you want to follow the ECC playoffs when they begin on March 2nd, log onto eccsports.org. For more information on the Bears, log on to nyibears.com and follow the Bears @nyitbears.

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