By Scott DeWeerd
The Albion College women's basketball team came out strong in their season finale Saturday afternoon, earning a 77-65 victory over Saint Mary's College.
It was an emotionally charged game for seniors Brett deBear, Danielle Fraley, and Taylor Nugent. deBear capped off a sensational career — finishing second on Albion's career scoring list and solidifying her status as one of the greatest basketball players in Albion history — with a game-high 29 points. Fraley shot her way to a career-high 16 points.
But the warmest moment of the game came just 20 seconds in as Saint Mary's allowed Nugent, who had been limited to the bench all season with a knee injury, to start the Albion scoring rampage off with an uncontested layup. Nugent stepped on the floor for the first time all season Saturday, and she was removed from the lineup immediately after the score.
Many members of a buzzing Kresge crowd were reduced to tears by Nugent's moment, but her teammates fed off the emotion. As a result, the Britons pounded their way to a 14-point lead by halftime and led by as many as 25 before the day was over, thanks in part to the sharp-shooting of deBear.
"I'm so proud of Brett," Albion coach Doreen Carden said after deBear completed her career with 1,249 points and her senior campaign with 450. "Of all the people to come through here, for her to make it to second all-time is truly impressive. She stepped up this year and it was unbelievable to watch. Even with teams keying on her all year long she managed to accomplish big things. Brett is a phenomenal player and a phenomenal person."
But the seniors weren't the only players to impress. Emily DeWaters continues to turn heads, amassing an astounding 17 rebounds while adding seven points.
"You can't ever question how hard Emily is going to play," said Carden. "If she can continue to get more consistent this off-season she can do some great things for us."
Albion's young talent finished the season off strong and gave spectators a reason to be excited for next winter. First-year guards Olivia Savage and Oreyana Curry had six and five points, respectively, while Savage added seven assists and four rebounds.
"It's hard for young players to stay consistent and focused all season long," said Carden. "But the experience that our freshmen got this year was invaluable and they've really grown. This off-season we're going to work on individual things and we're going to get a lot better."
The Britons shot 48 percent from the field for the game as well as 42 percent from beyond the arc. Albion ends their season with a 9-16 record overall and 5-11 in conference play.