One has to ask why this happens to State over and over. The best women's basketball team in ages loses near the end of the season two seniors who played big. Then Markeisha Gatling after scoring 28 and breaking the back of Syracuse injures her knee. I watched what happened over and over, and I saw nothing that would make me think it was bad. Maybe just a jam. However, when a player cannot put weight on their leg, it is usually a bad sign. Markeisha in moving to get position just planted her left foot and came up limping. I did not see any unusual movement of her knee which is why I am desperately hoping it is not a torn ACL.
State beat Syracuse 79-63 again behind 28 by Gatling on 13-20 from the field, 21 by Burke on 6 of 10 from the field including 16 boards and solid play by senior Breezy Williams.
State trailed 48-39 with 15 minutes left. State then went on a 21-0 run which turned into a 25-1 run. Gatling just destroyed Syracuse inside. It was awesome to watch. The game was a battle between State's bigs and Syracuse's guards. Kody and Gatling won big time.
Besides Gatling's play, the insertion of Breezy Williams into the game at about the 12 to 13 minute mark yielded significant dividends. Being very athletic and five-eleven, Breezy's insertion enabled State to tighten up the defense against Syracuse's guards. Additionally Williams scored 9 points hitting to big threes with the shot clock running down.
When Breezy Williams, a senior, was a freshman, I thought she would be a star for State. Size, speed and athletic ability made me think that. However, a knee injury at the beginning of her sophomore year seemed to derail her. I wondered why she did not play much over the last three years because she is the most athletic player on the team. She can shoot, but has been turnover phrone for most of her career. If two coaches do not see fit to play a player, there has to be a reason why. No matter what has been in the past, Breezy is ending her career playing like I first thought she could.
The bad news is a loss of Gatling most likely ends State's chances for anything great. Too small with six-two Burke inside and six-one freshman Mathurin or five-eleven Williams at the four. I have seen that story before. Maybe they will surprise without Gatling. If Gatling cannot play tomorrow, maybe she will be ready by NCAA time-two plus weeks from now.