BUFFALO, N.Y. — Of all the local big four basketball teams, the one most likely to go dancing in March was the one that you might not have expected.
The Niagara women have been on a very evident upward trend as they have already set the program record in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference wins, and sister Angel and Aaliyah Parker are right in the middle of it all.
“We’re very hardworking, we like to cause havoc,” Angel said. “I think we're trying to keep going with our goal in mind of getting that championship, so we try to take it one step at a time, and if we happen to break some records along the way, it's great.”
The Purple Eagles have only made one MAAC championship game appearance in 1997, when they fell to the Saint Peter’s Peacocks.
Senior and the older sister of the pair, Angel, said that things are really clicking with this group.
“I think it kind of was a build throughout my four years here,” Angel said. “I think this year is the work coming into its forefront, and all of us being on the same page, and putting in the work to do that.”
The Parker sisters are at the head of this recent success, averaging close to a combined 40 points per game. This accounts for just over half of Niagara’s offense.
Sophomore and the younger sister of the pair, Aaliyah, said that their success is due to their close relationship and history playing together.
“Since we've played with each other so long, we know what each other is going to do, so it’s automatic on the court,” Aaliyah said.
Beyond this on-court sister connection, or should I say behind, is the main reason they started playing in the first place.
“We actually come from a really big family,” Angel said. “There's 10 of us, or I have 10 siblings so, there's 11 of us. All of our older siblings kind of started off first, and then we just kind of grew up in it, around it.”
Both Angel and Aaliyah said that because they are originally from Cheektowaga, their family is able to come support every single home game.
“They sit right behind us, all of them, and we hear them the whole game,” Angel said. “They don't just cheer, if we do something bad, they're like, ‘What?’ ”
After a tough 1-8 start to the season, the Parker sisters and this Niagara team will look to continue in this historic path all while teaching us to always expect the unexpected.