Women’s basketball falls to SUNY New Paltz in finals

The Geneseo women’s basketball team defeated SUNY Oswego in the SUNYAC semifinals only to fall short against SUNY New Paltz in the finals on Saturday Feb. 23. 

The Knights traveled to New Paltz on Friday Feb. 22 to defeat the Oswego Lakers 67-51. Head coach Scott Hemer said that the game was defined by the team’s defense.

“I didn’t feel as if we ever truly got into any offensive rhythm against Oswego,” Hemer said. “But I think we did a tremendous time defensively forcing Oswego into poor shots.”

The following day, the Knights played the Hawks in the finals where they lost 64-53. Geneseo finished the season 20-7.

“Offensively we didn’t improve from [the Oswego game],” Hemer said. “We just didn’t move the ball well enough.”

The season’s completion came with honors for three Knights. Sophomore Shannon McGinnis, senior Melissa Graham and freshman Allison McKenna received recognition to the SUNYAC All-Conference team. McKenna also won the SUNYAC Rookie of the Year leading the team with 59 blocks with 199 rebounds. 

Graham received the 2013 SUNYAC Women’s Basketball Player of the Year award. She concluded the season with 327 points, 218 rebounds, 81 assists, 35 steals and 28 blocks.

The Orchard Park, N.Y. native as well as senior Nyisha Lewis played their last game of the season – a season which Graham described as “the greatest high I could have had” in her career. Graham said that this was due to the team dynamic, especially with this year’s group of women.

“I have been blessed with great teammates all four years, but this year there is something special about the teammates,” Graham said. “Despite not winning the SUNYAC championship, I’ll take this team over winning a SUNYAC championship any day.”

Besides on-the-court lessons, Graham said she also believes that she has taken away off-the-court lessons, as well. She said that she learned the most from Hemer who taught her to “control what you can control.”

“Some nights your shots aren’t falling, but you can always control your attitude and effort and that’s the same thing in life,” Graham said. “Sometimes you’re in situations where you don’t have control over what you want to control, but if you control the things you can, you can make a difference in the outcome.”

“I am so thankful that he has pushed me to be where I am. He ultimately made me into the player I am today and the person outside of basketball,” Graham said.

Graham graduates with a storied career, leading the program with 115 career blocks and placing eighth in all-time points scored with 1,042, but according to Graham, the game is not all about statistics.

“All [statistics] show are what someone else watched during that game,” she said. “They don’t show the emotions. What’s cool is that I couldn’t have done any of them alone. You can’t score 1,000 points without people passing you the ball.”