In a twist of the old maxim, they had a couple of breaks, but they did not bend.
Even in an 84-61 loss to Texas A & M in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Friday at Reed Arena, the Aggies’ home court, Wright State stood tall.
Raiders senior point guard Emily Vogelpohl played with a broken right wrist she suffered in a freak injury at practice last Saturday.
Playing with padding and brace on her wounded shooting hand and trying to hide it from the Aggies by wearing long black sleeves, Vogepohl shot left-handed , scored two points and tried to lead her team as she has all year
Then there was junior guard Michal Miller, who played Friday wearing a plastic mask to protect the nose she’s broken twice. She’s scheduled for surgery in three days.
Regardless ,the 27-7 Raiders refused to let that bad luck define a season of good fortune like none other in Wright State history.
Their 27 wins were the most ever in a season. It was the first time they were the outright regular-season champs of the Horizon League. It was just the second time the WSU women have gone to the NCAA Tournament.
Part of 99 victories in their four WSU seasons, the trio of seniors – Vogelpohl, Mackenzie Taylor and Symone Simmons – are the winningest class ever in Raiders’ women’s basketball. All three have scored well over 1,000 career points and Simmons also has 1,000–plus rebounds
In the Aggies, Wright State was facing a program that was making its 14th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and doing so this time backed by a large, partisan crowd.
Texas A&M won the national title in 2011 and has made the Sweet 16 six times, including last season.
Friday – as they have been all season, the Aggies were led by sophomore guard Chennedy Kennedy, who had 27 points. She led the SEC in scoring this season with 22.5 p.p.g. and the NCAA Tournament last season, averaging 31.3 points over three games.
As A&M coach Gary Blair said before the game: “I think she’s the most exciting guard that’s playing the game right now.”
That may be so, but Wright State has quite a bevy of guards, as well,
Taylor finished with 10 points, Simmons had seven points and 13 rebounds and Miller added 12 points.
The best performance of the day came from fearless freshman Angel Baker who had 22 points.
And then there was Vogelpohl, the heart and soul of the team.
“No one deserved to be out there more than her today,” said WSU coach Katrina Merriweather said. “She’s given everything she had to this program for four years.”
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