Three losses jeopardize Geneseo's playoff hopes

After three consecutive disheartening defeats this past week, the Geneseo women's basketball team has their work cut out for them to make the SUNYAC Tournament.

Losses to New Paltz, Oneonta and Brockport crippled the Lady Knights' playoff hopes, dropping them to ninth place in the conference with six games remaining.

The slide started with a seemingly innocuous stumble against the formidable New Paltz Hawks on Friday, 61-47. But by the time Brockport secured a 62-55 win on Tuesday night, the Lady Knights were in full free-fall.

Geneseo played a close game against the Hawks for most of Friday's contest, leading 40-39 midway through the second half behind stellar shooting from freshman Katelyn Charbonneau who finished with 15 points. That was as close as they would get to victory, however, as New Paltz went on a 16-4 run to put the game out of reach.

Saturday's game against Oneonta deepened the rut, as the Lady Knights were outmatched all night in a 71-51 rout at the hands of the Red Dragons. Senior Bridget Riley was one of the few standouts for Geneseo in the game, finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Tuesday's game against Brockport began differently from the former two, as the Lady Knights stormed out to a 19-4 lead early in the first half. But it rapidly devolved into a regrettable case of déjà vu as the Golden Hawks methodically chipped away at the lead before blowing the game open with a late 20-4 run. Riley and senior Tracy Wangelin each notched a double-double in the loss, which dropped the Lady Knights to 5-14 in the season.

"I would say that the bottom line was our ability, or lack thereof, to consistently put the ball in the basket. We had great looks at the basket for most of the night, but were very streaky in terms of actually scoring," said Geneseo coach Scott Hemer of the team's Achilles' heel against Brockport. "Unfortunately, we ran out of time to hit another streak."

Although the Lady Knights have struggled of late, Hemer acknowledged that an unfortunate injury to star forward senior Khadija Campbell in the season opener has forced the team to adjust on the fly.

"The team never really used [Campbell's injury] as an excuse but it certainly set us way back," said Hemer. "Whenever you lose a student-athlete who has the potential to be the best player in the conference, it changes everything. We spent over a month trying to focus our offense around her talents. Then, to remove that factor and try to plug others into situations that aren't their natural strengths, it's difficult to ever fully recover."

The Lady Knights look to get back on track in the upcoming days. On Saturday, the team goes on the road to face the 2-15 Morrisville Mustangs in a much-welcomed matchup. Tuesday brings a tougher game: a road contest against the dangerous Oswego Lakers.