Lady Rams fall in GNAC finals

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The women’s basketball team entered the Great Northeast Athletic Conference playoffs playing extremely good basketball. The hope was they would make a run at a conference title, solidifying an impressive season with a strong finish against their toughest opponents.

The team may have fallen short of their goal of winning the GNAC, but they now can look forward to the ECAC tournament, which starts March 3.

On Tuesday Feb. 22, the Lady Rams started their postseason on a strong note, disposing of the Mount Ida Mustangs, 68-55, in the opening round. Suffolk jumped out to a 21-11 lead in the early part of the contest, never looking back, despite several rallies by the Mustangs throughout the contest.

“We had a lot of energy, offensively we were pushing and attacking” said Coach Leyden of their opening round effort.

On the shoulders of Jennifer Ruys, Meghan Black and Jacqueline Vienneau, Suffolk would hold off the resilient Mount Ida squad and move on to the GNAC semifinals where they would take on the Monks of St. Joe’s just two days after their first playoff victory.

The Monks would prove a challenge to Suffolk’s championship aspirations, with the Lady Rams winning by a narrow margin, 71-62, at the Regan Gymnasium on Feb. 24. Meghan Black would lead Suffolk with 15 points during an impressive performance, with Ruys contributing 12 and a key basket with just two minutes left in the game to stop a deadly rally in its tracks.

When asked who impressed him during their postseason stretch this year, Coach Leyden stressed team concept. “Meghan Black, Lindsey Rogers and Jen Ruys have been really solid,” said the coach. “The bench has been big for us, they’ve been really consistent.”

The Lady Rams came into this past Saturday’s match up with a well-earned confidence, ending their regular season slump and playing their best basketball at the most important of times. Emmanuel had beaten Suffolk earlier in the year by a score of 61-58 on their home court, and would go on to take the No. 1 seed in the tournament, in large part due to that important win.

Suffolk would finish second in the conference, and came into this game looking to get revenge against the Saints. Coach Leyden’s squad fought admirably in the Finals, shooting just under 45 percent from the field and getting an important 14 points from their bench. Turnovers would be the Lady Rams’ undoing, however, in this important Finals matchup. The team lost 30 possessions to Emmanuel, while only scoring 17 points off the 19 turnovers they caused the Saints during the match.

Despite coming short of the GNAC title, there is hope for this young team to not only match their 2010-2011 season record, but improve upon it come next winter. With the amount of rising talent on this team—from forward Jennifer Ruys, to the returning leadership of Meghan Black, Andorra Salaices and Mary Garon—the team will be looking to capture the title with a veteran-laden team. next season rolls around.  This is clearly a team that will contend for the next couple seasons.

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