With a month left to go in the winter basketball season, the Geneseo women's basketball team currently holds a 5-11 record and eighth place in the SUNYAC division standings.
Although their record is unimpressive, the Lady Knights may still have some fight left. Last season the Lady Knights started off with a 2-10 record and still finished their season strongly, winning 10 of their final 14 games to finish at 12-14 with a spot in the SUNYAC tournament.
Another impressive comeback could be just around the corner with the Lady Knights winning their last two conference games: a close 49-45 victory over Fredonia on Jan. 20 and a 70-58 win over Buffalo State last Saturday.
These recent victories are even more astounding when one considers the obstacles the team has faced this season: Geneseo's two greatest offensive players were sidelined earlier in the season by substantial injuries, forcing the team to rearrange its game-plan and philosophical approach.
"I'm very proud of what these players have done. They have worked hard to overcome [these obstacles]. They've kept battling despite setbacks and have improved their defensive skills, as well as focused on scoring the easy points we know we can get in transition play," said head coach Scott Hemer. "The fact that they've won these last two conference games is huge and a credit to their resilience."
Hemer also attributed the success of his team to their unity, an essential component in building a solid sports program. Older players mentored the younger ones, inspiring great faith and trust in each other. This allowed for first-year students and team members Katelyn Charbonneau and Briana Dunton to become two of the Geneseo's top leading scorers.
Along with magical team chemistry and a fierce battling attitude, the Lady Knights have been playing good, smart basketball. Coming out of a victory over Fredonia, the team knew that one thing would surely put them in position for another victory: solid defensive play.
In fact, out of Fredonia's three most talented forwards who usually score double-digits, the Lady Knights were able to hold two of them to single-digit scoring. That success gave Geneseo the confidence needed to take on the Bengals, a team known for its athleticism but also for its undisciplined play.
"We knew Buffalo had great athleticism. The players were fast and strong on the boards and we knew if we wanted to win we would have to out-rebound them, which we did by about eight or nine. We were able to get a lead and maintain the advantage and that's how we pulled [the victory] off," said Hemer.
Up next for the Lady Knights are highly anticipated home contests against No. 2 ranked New Paltz on Jan. 30 at 6 p.m. and No. 3 ranked Oneonta on Jan. 31 at 2 p.m. If the team continues to concentrate defensively, out-rebound their opponents and limit turnovers, they have a good chance of ensuring victory and just might make it back to the SUNYAC tournament with another impressive comeback story they surely deserve.