The Geneseo women’s basketball team will participate in the Wendy’s College Classic Tournament on Thursday Dec. 4 and Saturday Dec. 6 at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The Wendy’s Classic is a men’s and women’s tournament that involves eight Rochester-area schools. The teams attended a dinner on Sunday Nov. 30 and found out which teams they would be playing against. The tournament is in its 49th year—the largest and longest-running Division III tournament in the nation. Head coach Scott Hemer noted that he likes the team’s chances in the tournament and uses their success or failure as a benchmark for the rest of the season.
“We have gone with the theme this year of ‘play like a champion today,’” Hemer said. “We have a great opportunity to showcase our talent as well as play some great teams in our area. I hope our players are taking the mindset that these are just three games and we have to … give it our all each game.”
Geneseo has been in the finals of the Wendy’s Classic the past two seasons, losing to the University of Rochester in 2012 and last season to Roberts Wesleyan College. The Knights are the third seed in this year’s tournament—something that definitely plays in their favor.
The Wendy’s Classic is now one of the first events of the college basketball year, but this was not always the case. The tournament used to be played in the spring semester. Hemer noted that the tournament timing is perfect right where it is.
“I like playing the tournament now, it is a good measuring stick to wrap up the semester,” Hemer said. “It is definitely a challenge playing three games in six days, but I think it is good to get our feet wet this early in the season.”
The Knights have always prided themselves on the defensive side of the ball and, according to Hemer, have done “exceptionally well” at it. A prime example from this season is when they held Whitman College, ranked seventh in the nation, to just 52 points. On top of that, Whitman has a preseason All-American on its team in senior guard Heather Johns, who was held to only nine points. Johns has averaged 16.8 points per game so far this season.
Hemer emphasized that his team will have to maintain a similar focus to take home the tournament title. “Defense and rebounding, we hang our hat on those two things and that is what we aim for each game and it is certainly not going to change,” he said. “We have had some very good defensive efforts and although we have a long way to go in rebounding, our players will become more committed to it and we should just keep improving every day.”