The biggest challenge for the women's basketball team this season has been maintaining consistency, or as head coach Scott Hemer said he believes, choosing to be more consistent.
"With us it's simply consistency and the challenging part that I've had this year, with this specific group, is convincing them that consistency is a choice," Hemer said. "When they make good choices we are as good, if not better than everybody in our conference and we clearly demonstrated that last night at [SUNY] Oswego."
On Tuesday Feb. 14 the Knights traveled to Oswego and defeated the Lakers fairly handedly, 67-52. As they've done on a number of occasions this season, Geneseo came out flat, shooting a meager 29.6 percent from the field. In the second half, however, they really amped up their effort outscoring the Lakers by 20 points and finishing the game with a 26-6 run.
“[The first half] was simply choosing not to show up physically and mentally together," Hemer said. "In the second half, we picked up our physical effort a little bit but we picked up our mental effort significantly and that was the difference. That group was fun to watch in the second half."
Despite their 11-12 record, the Lakers have been a dominant home team this year, posting a 7-3 record, including a win against first place SUNY Oneonta, so Geneseo's second half performance was only a further confirmation of the team's potential. In the half, the Knights completely dominated every aspect of play, shooting 54 percent from the field while demonstrating their prowess on the boards, outrebounding the Lakers by 26.
"They're a tremendous group of young ladies, they really are, but at times they're almost too nice," Hemer said. "We have to get a little bit of that nasty streak going on the court because when they get in that mode we're tough to beat."
On Feb. 10 and 11 the Knights split a pair of games against Buffalo State College and SUNY Fredonia, respectively. The outcomes again came down to consistency as the Knights suffered one too many physical and mental lapses against the Bengals, falling 56-64. Against the Blue Devils, however, the Knights shot almost 14 percent better from field, while continuing their dominance on the boards, 43-29.
"Every team has their moments when they will struggle to put the ball in the basket, that's part of the game," said Hemer. "What championship teams do is they don't make excuses for that. They flip it around and control what they can on the defensive end; they elevate, they pick it up, they get stops and eventually the shots start falling … you find ways to win."
The Knights finish out the regular season at home on Feb. 17 and 18 against SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Plattsburgh, respectively.
"What we set out to do was to be the team that nobody wanted to matchup with come the postseason and this team, when they play like they did … in the second half against Oswego is absolutely what we wanted," Hemer said. "There are a lot of teams at the top of the conference that are watching the standings and hoping they don't get matched up with Geneseo – with that Geneseo team."