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Brown scores 23 in final home game

Senior+Erica+Brown+hugs+coach+Debbie+Black+prior+to+her+final+game+in+Lantz+Arena.+Brown+is+Black%27s+first+player+to+play+four+years+with+her+and+graduate.
Senior Erica Brown hugs coach Debbie Black prior to her final game in Lantz Arena. Brown is Black's first player to play four years with her and graduate.

Senior Erica Brown hugs coach Debbie Black prior to her final game in Lantz Arena. Brown is Black's first player to play four years with her and graduate.

Sean Hastings

Sean Hastings

Senior Erica Brown hugs coach Debbie Black prior to her final game in Lantz Arena. Brown is Black's first player to play four years with her and graduate.

JJ Bullock, Women's Basketball Reporter

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Eastern senior Erica Brown had a game to remember in what will be her final appearance as a Panther in Lantz Arena Wednesday night in a 66-57 loss to Murray State.

Brown finished with a game high 23 points on 11-20 shooting and had 14 rebounds, both figures falling two short of her career highs.

Usually found in the paint grinding for layups and rebounds, Brown stepped out of her comfort zone, and for her final shot at Lantz Arena, she lined up from the top of the arc and drained a three-pointer.

While the personal accolades in her final game were great, Brown would have much rather seen her team exit with a victory.

“I guess personally my points were there but I would have rather come out with a win for my last game on the home court,” Brown said. “That’s what I would really want. I mean, if that was my wish it would have been to win. It’s not me as a team. It’s us together. So that’s what I would really want.”

The only senior departing from the team, emotions were running high before and after the game for Brown and head coach Debbie Black.

“Lots of emotions,” Brown said. “I mean, me and Coach Black had a little moment before the game and some of my family is here and friends came out and visited. So you know, it’s hard but you just got to keep looking forward and pass the torch on to the people below.”

Black and Brown share a special connection when it comes to their Eastern careers. When Brown was a freshman four years ago, Black was beginning her first year as head coach of the team.

“She is my first four-year student athlete. I have coached her, I have had the privilege. I have been lucky,” Black said.

Brown has been a key player for Eastern over her four-year career. She has been with the team during good times, seeing them make the OVC tournament twice, and she also has been there through the bad times, including last seasons 21-game losing streak.

The loss to Murray State Wednesday night officially eliminated Eastern from OVC tournament contention, meaning Brown will not see the postseason in her final year, which caps off a career in which Brown wishes she could have seen more success from the program.

“It has been (tough) and I mean, that’s rather unfortunate,” Brown said. “When you put in a lot of effort and you just can’t seem to go that final step to show that you are a winning team, that really kind of really sucks, I am not going to lie. But even though that we could not come through as a winning season, I still had great experiences with my team, with my coach and being on a division one team, being a division one athlete. I got an opportunity that most people would kill for, so that is all I could ask for and take the most out of that.”

JJ Bullock can be reached at 581-2812 or jpbullock@eiu.edu

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Brown scores 23 in final home game