Women’s Basketball Historic Season Concludes

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Many basketball fans across the country watched numerous games throughout the Division I NCAA Tournament; competing in bracket contests and watching the excitement of March Madness unfold was all a part of the basketball season. Here at NYIT, one of the biggest stories this college basketball seasonwasthe performance of the NYIT Bears Women’s team. Their season came to a close last month in the opening round of the Division II NCAA Tournament with a loss to East Coast Conference rival Dowling. It was a season filled with many historic moments for the program that will always be remembered.

Despite losing in the tournaments opening round, what will never be forgotten was the history and memories that the team created this season. Coming off the program’s first winning season in history, the Bears were predicted to finish 6th in the ECC and continue to keep building the foundation developed by Head Coach Anthony Crocitto. Entering the season, the girls were ready for any challenge as they wanted to reach their season goal of making the NCAA Tournament and winning the East Coast Conference. “We certainly raised the bar as the season went along. We enjoyed all the success but only took it in stride – one game at a time,” said Coach Croccito. “Our players were certainly aware of an undefeated streak but never succumbed or showed signs of weakness based on the streak or pressures that came along with it.”

The season began with excitement as the team began the year winning their first 15 games and earning national rankings. Their play took the ECC and Division II basketball to a whole new level as one of the surprises in the country this season. Rebecca Lynch, a senior point guard,feels that there have been many reasons for their success. “We’ve worked together both on and off the court and seem to have a team that works well when under pressure,” said the Interdisciplinary Studies major. “That and improving readily in practice has helped us achieve and be where we are in the ECC.”Lynch was second on the team in scoring averaging 12.2 points a game this season. The team started the season undefeated through the end of January winning their first 15 games. Their 10-0 run through December was the best two month start in program history. On January 8th, the team was ranked in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Top 25 for the first time in program history. They earned a No. 25 ranking when they tied the school record for most wins in a single season, 16, which was set last year. A February win over Mercy College produced the program’s first 20-win season. “Twenty wins is great for NYIT and very special to us,” said Coach Crocitto. “With everyone playing and being involved, this win was very special to me as a coach.” The Bears finished the season with a record of 23-6 including a 14-4 record in conference play.

Despite an early exit in the NCAA Tournament, this group will always be remembered for the historic moments they achieved and will always be in history books of NYIT Athletics. “Wins and losses aside, I am very proud of the character of every member of the program,” said Athletic Director Clyde Doughty. “Student-athletes and coaches did an outstanding job representing NYIT with class, dignity, and poise during their chase for athletic excellence.”As the collegiate careers for some of these players came to a conclusion, whatever happens next in their lives, this group will always have the memories of this team that will always be looked at as special by the NYIT community. “This was one of the most amazing seasons I have ever been a part of and not many people could say that they have been on a team that was 23-6,” says senior Chloe Johnson. “Being ranked amongst the Top 25 teams in the nation and making it to the NCAA regional tournament is by far one of the greatest experiences of my life. I am so blessed that I was able to become so close with my teammates and I can guarantee that some of these friendships will last a lifetime.”

The Bears conclude their record season with number of firsts for the program that will always be remembered which includedthe first 20-win season in the 30 year history, a second place finish in the East Coast Conference with a 14-4 overall mark, and receiving the program’s first national ranking from the USA Today/Women’s Basketball Association (WBCA). “The most amazing part of this season and experience was that we were the first women’s basketball team in to make it that far and that we will finally have our own banner hanging in the gymnasium with all the other teams,” said Johnson.

With the many memorable moments accomplished this season, the focus now for the Women’s Basketball program is to keep building the program as strong as it has become in the 4 years Coach Crocitto has been at NYIT. “We are excited to have built a strong program and have now set expectations and with expectations come responsibilities. With all that said: we certainly believe we have what it takes to make a run at the ECC title next year and the NCAA’s as well.”

 

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