The Geneseo women’s basketball team advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament after winning both games of the tournament’s opening weekend. The first round was an 84-40 domination on March 6 against Castleton State College from Vermont. The second win came on March 7 when Geneseo defeated Muhlenberg College 69-54.
The wins secured the Knights’ 14-0 record at home—winning 19 straight overall. The Sweet 16 is the farthest that a SUNYAC team has gotten in the NCAA Tournament since 2001. In the Sweet 16, the Knights faced off against the 2014 champion Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham. FDU-Florham had a record of 28-1 going into the game––the team’s only loss coming against Eastern University by 1 point. Although no one on the school’s roster stood over 5’10”, what the team lacked in height it made up for in experience.
The Knights were outscored 48-20 in the first half and were unable to come away with a victory. Still, the team rallied to outscore FDU-Florham by 14 in the second half, only losing 68-54. As senior center Katie Peterson put it, the team just takes it one game at a time.
“At this point in the season, we are just looking to survive and advance. We just want to give our best effort and hopefully we can come out on top,” Peterson said. “We have worked so hard this season and to see our efforts being rewarded as one of the last 16 teams in the tournament makes for a memorable season.”
With the loss of five seniors, Geneseo is going to have some big shoes to fill––especially at the forward position. Although the Knights still have junior forwards Allison McKenna and Vanessa Wyckoff—both of whom are over 6’0”—Geneseo will lose 5’11” senior forward Lea Sobieraski and 5’10” senior forward Shannon McGinnis.
McGinnis—a Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Division III First Team All-American—accounted for the bulk of the Knights’ scoring and rebounding this season; averaging 15.7 points per game and 11.4 rebounds per game. She finished her career with 1,473 points and 1,011 rebounds, making her the only player in program history to reach 1,000 rebounds.
The Knights will look to junior All-SUNYAC selections McKenna and guard Dana Cohan, as well as sophomore guards Katie Durand, Bridgit Ryan and Kara Houppert to help balance their attack next season.
Geneseo closed the year with one of the best seasons in program history. The Knights will look to build on their success and continue the tradition of excellence that has been key to their stellar record this year. The Knights should be very proud of the great challenges they overcame to get to the NCAA Tournament. The Knights ended the season with a 25-5 record and a perfect 14-0 at home.