Elmira College Women's Basketball set to compete in conference playoffs for first time since 2006-07 season
ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) - It's been a special season for the Elmira College Women's basketball program. The Soaring Eagles tallied another double-digit win season and punched their ticket to the Empire 8 playoffs for the first time since the 2006-2007 season. Now, they eye a spot in championship weekend.
Elmira is the 5th seed and will travel to 4th seeded Houghton University on Tuesday.
Elmira enters this game at 10-7 in conference play while Houghton is 10-8. They've split the season series the last two years, and ever since Houghton joined the Empire 8 in 2012-13, Elmira is 11-11 against the Highlanders.
If the Soaring Eagles win on Tuesday, they would advance to championship weekend to face top-seeded St. John Fisher in the semifinals on Friday with the championship game scheduled for Saturday.
WENY Sports caught up with the team as they talked about how the growing culture has played a major role in helping them get to this point.
"We just get after it and compete," said second-year Head Coach, Thad Phillips. "It's not always pretty, but we've seemed to get the job done quite a bit and it's the culture with the girls, they really play for each other."
"When I came in here last year, you could definitely see a difference," said junior guard, Alleney Klunk. "The leadership definitely carried over from Taylor Albrecht and she has really helped this program become what it is and I feel like it's just grown with more maturity because we are a really young team."
"It took a lot of grit for us to get here and us just being committed to our program and wanting to practice every day and wanting to win is what helped us make the playoffs" added sophomore guard, D'Asia Jones.
This season, Elmira lost to Houghton in the first matchup at home, 55-53 but then returned the favor on the road on February 7th with a 53-49 win. The team talked about what it will take to make a run at a potential conference title.
"We've got to play well on both ends of the floor," Phillips said. "It always takes a little bit of luck, coming out and you have a hot night when you haven't been having a great shooting night or whatever it is and then attention to all of the little things and those little things make big things happen. We're good enough to make a run, but we've got to go out and execute what we're supposed to execute."
"Our big thing every day is just staying focused in practice and doing everything we can to stay positive and work hard every day, treat practice every day the same way we treat a game" added sophomore guard, Taylor Jung.
"It's going to take a lot of hard work, a lot of grit, got to dig down and during fourth quarters make some foul shots, make some plays and really trust each other," said Klunk.
Tip-off for Tuesday's game in Houghton is set for 7 PM.