Niagara Gazette — LEWISTON — The Niagara University women’s basketball team’s regular season came to an end Sunday afternoon with a home loss to Fairfield, 74-62.
Yet two things seemed to ease the sting of a season-ending loss at the Gallagher Center. One of them was the 24-point performance by Chanel Johnson. The team’s lone senior was honored prior to the game and received a standing ovation from fans as she was taken out of the game late, having tied her personal best for points with a layup.
“We couldn’t ask more from Chanel Johnson,” said Niagara head coach Kendra Faustin. “Her growth both on and off the court in her four years here has been phenomenal. This year she became the player that we saw when we were recruiting her. On and off the court she’s been a great leader. She’s matured so much. I’ve really enjoyed coaching her. She’s my kind of player. She’s hard nosed, works hard, and those are the things that makes her fun and exciting to coach.”
The other thing that still had Purple Eagles personnel feeling good in spite of a loss was the never-say-quit play of the team, who trailed 13-4 in the early stages of the game but rallied to tie the game at 20-20 near the midway point of the first half.
That’s just the sort of gut check that has Faustin feeling good about her team as they head to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference postseason tournament, which begins later this week.
Johnson also thinks the Purple Eagles could surprise.
“I think we can,” Johnson said. “We just have to do what we do all the time, no matter if we’re down 30 or we’re down one. We have to keep thinking and do what we do all the time, offensively and defensively.”