Women's Basketball: 'Cats can't win on senior day
Senior day at Lundholm Gymnasium wasn't the send-off New Hampshire was hoping to give guard Kelsey Hogan in her last game at UNH. After scoring the first bucket, the Wildcats never led again, losing 66-62.
"Obviously I'm disappointed," head coach Maureen Magarity said. "You want to win a game like this for Kelsey on her senior day. Kelsey has won so many games over the years and that's the hard part. I'm upset because we couldn't find a way to win for her today."
Down 62-54 with 1:30 to play, Hogan hit a three-pointer, her third of the game, to close Maine's lead to five. After 30 seconds and three possessions, Maine's Ashleigh Roberts made a free-throw to put the Black Bears up six. Hogan hit a jumper with 43 seconds to play followed by an Elizabeth Belanger three-pointer 10 seconds later.
After intentionally fouling Roberts, New with 30 seconds left. After a missed shot by Hogan, UNH got the ball back after Maine's Lauren Bodine missed both of her free throws. With four seconds to go, Hogan shot a three but it bounced out.
"I think we found a way to make it a closer game than it honestly was," Magarity said. "But Maine came ready to play, shot the ball well, did all the little things well like rebounding. And they deserved to win. I told the girls that Maine put together two halves."
For Hogan, another chapter closes as her six-year career at New Hampshire slowly comes to an end. While the team will play Friday at Albany against Vermont in the America East tournament, Hogan will not play another game at UNH.
"I can't believe I won't play in Lundholm Gymnasium ever again," Hogan said. "It's kind of unbelievable. Time flies by and I never thought it would be this quick."
"She deserved a lot better," freshman guard Kristen Anderson said. "We tried to go out there and put up a good game for her and obviously there were a lot of emotions in the air. We love Kelsey and she's what holds our team together. It was tough to finish like that."
Hogan, who missed her first two seasons because of knee injuries, knew that Saturday would be a big moment. During last year's senior day, Hogan started with the other four seniors, most of whom she was older than.
"Coming into the game, I knew I would be an emotional wreck," Hogan said. "This place has given me so many opportunities and it's really shaped me into who I really am today. It's a chapter of my life that's about to close and it's scary."
Hogan, being the only senior player on the team, was honored before the game by coaches, teammates and family members in front of the 824 at Lundholm Gymnasium. Despite being the focus of the day, Hogan only wanted to win for her team.
"During the game I just wanted to get a win, not for me, but for my teammates so we could get the No. 2 seed," Hogan said.
Saturday also served as silent night for Lundholm Gymnasium. Fans were instructed to be silent until the Wildcats scored their 10th point. With 9:36 to go in the first half, Hogan drove to the basket for the layup and 10th point. The crowd erupted into a thunderous cheer that lasted for a few possessions.
"It was weird because at first you could hear a pin drop, the game was almost like a practice," Hogan said. "But once we scored that 10th point, it was like there were more people in the crowd than there was. It was a good turnout too, but everyone was into it."
"We joked that it might take a while to get to 10 and sure enough it did," Magarity said. "But the place was loud and it was great that Kelsey was the one to get it."
In the first half the Black Bears shot the ball extremely well, going 13-28 and 6-9 from the three-point line. The Wildcats struggled shooting the ball, starting the game 2-11, for a paltry 18.2 shooting percentage. New Hampshire closed it back, getting within four late before Maine went on a 5-0 run to end the half leading 33-24.
Hogan finished the game with 21 points, three assists, three steals, and two rebounds over 39 minutes of play. Ariel Gaston added 11 points and four rebounds, while Belanger chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds.
With the regular season now over, New Hampshire will head to Albany for the America East championship to take on Vermont, Friday at 2 p.m. The Wildcats defeated the Catamounts both times this season, 60-45 on Jan. 20 and 71-50 on Feb. 19.
"We've been known as a team that comes from behind and today we weren't able to do that," Hogan said. "It's a lesson to be learned that we've got to put together a complete game. It's one game, win and you go on, lose and it's over."
Follow Arjuna Ramgopal on Twitter @ArjunaRamgopal
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