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Morehead bids McKee farewell

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By John Herndon

MOREHEAD -- Only six seconds remained when Eriel McKee left the Johnson Arena basketball court for the final time Saturday evening.

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Morehead State was safely ahead of Eastern Kentucky in McKee’s final home game and her place as one of the all-time Eagle greats was secure.

“She is a tremendous athlete,” Morehead coach Greg Todd said. “She is one of the top players in school history. She will be in the (career) Top 10 in scoring and rebounding and may be No. 1 in steals.”

Morehead State will be playing in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament at Evansville, Ind., this week. While 23rd-ranked Belmont (28-3) finished the regular season unbeaten in conference play, Morehead (21-10, 12-6 in the OVC) hopes to make some noise in the tournament. The Eagles would likely have to win the conference tournament to get an NCAA Tournament bid, they are hopeful that the season will be able to continue.

Regardless of how much more she plays, McKee is already in the Top 10 of Morehead history of every major statistical category.

She lets her game do the talking.

McKee found her niche at Morehead both on and off the court.

“It was bittersweet,” McKee said of her final home game. “I love playing here and I am going to miss it.”

McKee indicated how much she loves Morehead in a video played prior to Saturday’s game. In the video, her voice cracked. She vowed she was not going to lose composure in her Senior Day celebration and could be seen looking to a teammate, smiling and pointing to her eyes during the ceremony a few moments before the Eagles took on Eastern Kentucky Saturday afternoon. “I was making a joke because I did cry in my video a little bit,” McKee said. “I said I am not going to cry and I was going to keep a straight face.”

Morehead used a strong second quarter to gain control, then held off an Eastern rally to post a 62-51 win. McKee led Morehead with 14 points and also had five rebounds. She grabbed several key rebounds down the stretch as Morehead pulled away. “She willed it,” Todd said. “I didn’t take her out for a rest like I usually do.”

With six seconds left, Todd called time out to allow his seniors to leave the floor one final time. McKee embraced teammates and coaches alike, smiling with the satisfaction of a successful final night.

While McKee still has some basketball to play at Morehead, she says her future plans are to play overseas. If that does not work out, she says she would like to coach and be a fitness trainer.

Eriel McKee in Morehead State women’s basketball history

Statistics through the 2017-18 regular season

Statistic Total Rank

Points scored 1,478 10

Rebounds 841 8

Blocks 85 6

Steals 247 3

Games Played 118 6