The Geneseo women’s basketball team tipped off its season on Nov. 15 and Nov. 16 on the West Coast in Portland, Ore. “There [are] 450 Division III women’s basketball teams, so when you take on the No. 17 team [Lewis & Clark College], 2,700 miles from home and get a win, it’s a good accomplishment,” head coach Scott Hemer said.
The Knights overcame the changes of a different climate and time zone to defeat Lewis & Clark in a slim 63-62 win. Guard junior Biz Reinhardt sealed the win with a layup with three seconds left on the clock. Forward junior Shannon McGinnis earned a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds.
The following day, Geneseo eased past the Willamette University, winning 74-59. McGinnis again finished with a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Guard sophomore Dana Cohan finished with 14 points and three assists. Hemer handed starts to two forward freshmen Bridgit Ryan and Katie Vienneau.
This all comes after losing All-American Melissa Graham ‘13. In the 2012-2013 season, she led the team in scoring (12.1 points-per-game), assists (3.0 assists-per-game) and steals (1.3 steals-per-game). She also pulled down an impressive 8.1 rebounds-per-game and blocked 28 shots – both second on the team.
Despite missing arguably its best player in the past decade, Hemer said he believes the team can still continue success.
“Any time you lose a conference Player of the Year and an All-American, it has an effect on your returning team makeup,” Hemer said. “But we felt that we had a lot of pieces that were remaining behind [Graham] that would allow us to be very successful over the next season after her departure.”
One of those pieces is McGinnis, who is currently averaging 21 points-per-game and 11.5 rebounds-per-game.
“I think the light bulb went off for [McGinnis] this summer,” Hemer said. “She’s always been a high motor type of player, but I think she was able to be more consistent in her focus this past weekend.”
Hemer also gave opportunities to freshmen players and saw their significant impact on the game.
“The most impressive thing we learned about our freshmen was that, yes they came out like deer in headlights. But here they are in their first game, playing the 17th ranked team in the country and they were able to have a significant contribution on the game. I think it speaks a lot to their potential moving forward,” Hemer said.
Hemer said SUNYAC has been the strongest this year in his tenure as head coach. Despite this, he wants his team to “stay focused on who we are and what we want to become,” and hopefully it will find success for the season.