The Geneseo women’s basketball team was able to keep its winning streak alive, reaching 17 straight wins with Saturday Feb. 28’s 61-54 afternoon victory over the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons. More importantly, the win clinched the Knights’ second SUNYAC title in five years. The Knights received major contributions from many key players, including SUNYAC Player of the Year senior forward Shannon McGinnis.
She finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds. First-team All-SUNYAC selection junior forward Allison McKenna was huge down the stretch, with a clutch wing jumper late in the game. McKenna finished with nine points and five rebounds on the night. Second-team All-SUNYAC selection junior guard Dana Cohan piled in 14 points with three huge three-pointers that proved to be momentum shifters in the closely contested game.
Along with these players being recognized, head coach Scott Hemer was named the SUNYAC Coach of the Year—having won two SUNYAC titles in his eight years as head coach and getting to the SUNYAC finals four out of the past five years. The SUNYAC title solidifies Hemer’s hard work, and the rest of the team’s.
“We were just happy to be given a chance,” senior forward Lea Sobieraski said. “To be given the opportunity to host SUNYACs in front of our friends and family and to be able to reach such an accomplishment this season is something I know none of us will forget. This was a goal we set out to accomplish at the beginning of the year. We all knew it would not be easy, but when we play together, we have the ability to be a special team.”
Having won their conference tournament, the Knights get an automatic bid into the Division III NCAA Tournament where they will host the first and second rounds on Friday March 6 and Saturday March 7. They face Castleton College in the first round. Sitting at 23-4, Castleton has the same record as the Knights. Senior center Katie Peterson explained that now that Geneseo has advanced, the pressure is somewhat off.
“It is a really cool feeling to be in the NCAA Tournament because I don’t think we feel a ton of pressure at this point,” Peterson said. “By winning our conference, we accomplished our top goal of the season. A lot of people didn’t think we could get here, so now it is about how many games we get to prove that we earned this.”
“The time spent in the workout room, during the film sessions and all of our hard practices is all worth becoming a SUNYAC champion,” senior guard Biz Reinhardt said. “At this point, we are just going to stick with what we know, take one game at a time and prepare ourselves to be in the best position to win.”
The Knights look to extend their winning streak to 18 games on Friday March 6 at 7:30 p.m. against Castleton College.