This season, the women's basketball team displayed glimpses of dominance and amassed its highest win total in almost eight years. On Tuesday night, however, the Knights were more than dominant – they were special.
Top-seeded Geneseo dismantled No. 8-ranked SUNY Brockport by an astounding 40 points in the first round of this year's SUNYAC tournament.
"I've been coaching at the collegiate level for 10 years and that was far and above the best overall performance I have ever had a team play," said head coach Scott Hemer.
From start to finish the Knights were in control, out-rebounding the Golden Eagles by 14 and shooting almost 14 percentage points higher. Geneseo forced 22 turnovers, including 15 in the first half alone.
As the Knights walked into the locker room with a 34-12 lead, there was little doubt that they would advance to the semifinals for the second year in a row. Amazingly, the Knights could have gone scoreless the remainder of the game and still come out on top as the Golden Eagles only managed 33 points on the entire game.
"They were special [Tuesday] night," Hemer said. "They were special in terms of their mental commitment and their passion … They were fully committed to those and I believe that they saw what they are capable of when they play that way and anybody that was there had a chance to see that as well. It was fun."
Senior Brittany Finkle led the Knights to their 73-33 victory, posting a double-double with 14 points, 12 rebounds, four steals and three assists. Junior Bri Dunton and sophomore Melissa Graham were also key contributors to Geneseo's balanced attack, scoring 13 points apiece. Dunton had seven assists, and Graham grabbed five rebounds and four steals.
Over the weekend, the Knights wrapped up regular season play with two games on the road against SUNY Cortland and SUNY Oswego. They came away the victors in both, finishing the season with an overall record of 22-3 and 17-1 in conference play.
"I'm not sure that people understand the significance of what this group has done this year," Hemer said of his team.
After finishing up the month of January undefeated in conference play, the Knights played the rest of season with a "huge target on [their] backs," Hemer said. Consistently pulling top efforts from the opponents, the Knights still managed to finish with the best record in the conference.
"Even on nights when it was tough to find our ‘A' game, this group found ways to win," Hemer said. "Some of the best teams in history haven't been able to persevere through those nights and this group has; it says a lot about their character."
Geneseo will face No. 4 Cortland for the semifinals of the tournament on Friday at 8 p.m. The championship game is slated for Saturday at 4 p.m.
"If you're worth your salt, you want to beat the best and we have an opportunity to play against the best teams in our conference over the course of the weekend," Hemer said. "If you're really a championship program you relish that opportunity and we're hoping to go out, play as well as we can and let the scoreboard take care of itself."