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Chisholm, Reaves shine on senior day

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CINCINNATI -- This may be only their second year on campus at the University of Cincinnati, but seniors Chanel Chisholm and Bjonee Reaves have become leaders for a Bearcats team that has its most BIG EAST wins ever under head coach Jamelle Elliott.

Chisholm and Reaves were both recognized on Saturday during pre-game festivities for senior day. They were accompanied by their families while hoisting up framed jerseys and carrying more flowers than lovers on Valentines Day.

These two seniors have been the leaders of a team that is looking to improve to seven conference victories and a better seed in the BIG EAST Tournament with a win at DePaul on Monday. With a win the Bearcats will also inch closer and closer to a possible Women's NIT berth.

Chisholm and Reaves were the two standout performers on Saturday leading the Bearcats with 34 combined points, which was over half of the team's 62 points. Reaves led the way with 22 points and four assists while Chisholm added 12 points and six rebounds. These statistics were very appropriate as the two emotional players were able to perform magnificently on their special day.

"My family was in town from California but other than that it's just a normal game," Reaves said. "Yeah, our emotions were running high today and it had something to do with senior day, but I think it had more to do with the fact that we were trying to make a statement today. We wanted teams to know that Cincinnati is here and were not a cupcake team anymore."

"Of course emotions are going to be high like Bjonee said because it is senior night," Chisholm said. "We came into the game hoping to play like it was any other game and we were hoping for the win we just didn't get it."

Elliott knew how important these two were when they transferred to UC as juniors. Now they know how important it is to be a role model to the younger players. Sophomore guard Dayeesha Hollins attribute a lot of her success this season to Chisholm and Reaves.

"It's really good to see them succeed," guard Dayeesha Hollins said. "At Michigan when I was a freshman there wasn't very much support. Here I feel like they're always there and they have advice for me all the time. They helped me out for next year."

According to Elliott, Chisholm and Reaves were the most pivotal players during the team's recent four game winning streak. She is proud to see that the two seniors have been able to learn the importance of every game, an ideal that some underclassmen may have a tough time grasping.

"I think they understand and know the importance of every game now, because every game we play is one less game that they are going to be in a Cincinnati uniform," Elliott said. "I think they know the sense of urgency that their careers are winding down and I think they're playing the type of basketball where, at the end of the day, when it is all said and done, they left everything on the floor."

Elliott agreed that it is an emotional time as a coach as well during senior day proceedings, but she is happy with the fact that Chisholm and Reaves have put themselves in a position, which the BIG EAST tournament may not be the last game(s) they play this season.

"We get another regular season game at DePaul where we get to be with our seniors and hopefully more than one game in the BIG EAST Tournament," Elliott said. "We're keeping our fingers crossed and it's looking good that we are going to be in the WNIT after that. We still have a lot of time with our seniors, we're going to make the most of it having those guys around because when it does end it's going to be different not having those two guys on my team."

Special Note:
After the game I was talking with Hollins and she had some very nice words for each one of her favorite seniors. I thought I would share them with you here.

"Bjonee knows how to take over a game," Hollins said. "She knows how to put her team on her back."

"Chanel is a great leader on the floor and even though she may not be scoring she is doing something else to help the team out," Hollins said. "Whether its encouraging the team or whatever she is always there for the team."
    

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