MARCY, N.Y. - The SUNY Poly women's basketball team are the North Eastern Athletic Conference Champions for the second time in as many years. The Wildcats won Sunday's Championship game in convincing fashion, defeating Morrisville State 74-47. The Championship Title earns the Wildcats the right to represent the NEAC in the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.
The Wildcats played a great game right from the tip, never surrendering the lead. The Wildcats shot 45 percent from the field and hit nine three-pointers in the win. The team played incredibly hard on defense, forcing 21 turnovers. Those 21 turnovers turned into 26 points from the Wildcats. The Cats' also hit the offensive boards hard in the game, turning 12 offensive rebounds into 16 second chance points.
Stevie Ray (Syracuse N.Y.) had a memorable game for the Wildcats. Entering the game, Stevie needed exactly 32 points to reach 1,000 points in her two seasons with the Wildcats. Stevie delivered, scoring exactly 32 points, the final two with just six seconds remaining in the game. The senior was chosen as the NEAC Championship MVP for the second time in two seasons after averaging 20 points, five rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game. Ray also had five rebounds and an assist in the game.
Khristaijah Jackson (Levittown Pa.) had yet another solid game for the Wildcats. Jackson scored 10 points, eight rebounds, three blocks, an assist, and a steal. Jackson has now had a double-digit scoring output in 26 of 27 games for the Wildcats this season.
Taylor Aybar (Woodside, N.Y.) was the engine that moved the Wildcat offense in the game. On the biggest stage of the season so far, the freshman put on a show, matching her career high with 10 assists. Aybar also had three points, five rebounds, and two steals.
Shelbey Kralik (Albany, N.Y.) and Ryenn Smith (Lyons, N.Y.) were the X-factor for the Wildcats. The seniors seemed to be in the middle of every play on both sides of the ball. Kralik played a great all-around game. She had eight rebounds, four assists, two steals, three blocks, and six points. Smith had nine points, five rebounds, and a steal in 20 minutes of play.
For Morrisville, Charlotte Walker had a very solid performance. She totaled 16 points on seven of 12 shooting and had six rebounds. Haley Kilmartin had 15 points for the Mustangs, hitting three three-pointers and grabbing seven rebounds.
With the NEAC Championship win, the Wildcats improve to 26-2 on the year and earn the right to represent the NEAC in the Division III National Championship Tournament. The first round of the tournament will take place next weekend. The selection show for tournament seeding will take place on Monday, February 27th at 2:30 PM. At that time, opponent and destination will be released.