Women's basketball looks to strengthen foundation

The Geneseo women’s basketball team looks to build on their success last season by carrying momentum into their 2015-16 campaign. Geneseo finished their season in the Division III NCAA Tournament, making it to the Sweet 16 before Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham eliminated them from the tournament.

After capturing the program’s fifth SUNYAC Championship last season, the Knights look to return to the top of the conference.

The Knights lost some key players from last year’s title team. The returning players, however, are more than ready to come into their new roles and fill the gaps left by former players.

The most formidable force in this Knight’s squad is the duo of senior guard Dana Cohan and senior forward Allison McKenna. They both have played key roles in each of Geneseo’s past four seasons and look to assume more responsibility on and off the court with their leadership positions.

McKenna was second on the team in points—averaging 12 per game—and was also second in rebounds with 6.5 per game. Cohan was third in scoring with 10.5 points per game, also dishing out an average of 3.5 assists per game—put her fourth overall in the SUNYAC. Both of these players will need to elevate their numbers if the Knights want to bring a sixth conference title home to Geneseo.

With a strong junior class comprised of returning guards Kara Houppert, Kayleigh Cavanaugh, Katie Durand and Bridgit Ryan, the Knights have a solid back court to compliment Cohan and McKenna. All four juniors can consistently knock down the outside shot, which will provide Geneseo with a great three-point threat to counter the play in the posts.

This season also brings an interesting twist, as Women’s Basketball Coach’s Association First-Team All-American and Geneseo’s all-time leading rebounder Shannon McGinnis has returned to the team as a graduate assistant. McGinnis led the Knights in scoring the past two seasons and rebounding the past three, all while racking up All-SUNYAC team selections.

“It is nice to be able to come back and contribute to the program that has given me so much over the past four years and I also get to fulfill one of my goals of coaching, so this is a really great situation,” McGinnis said. “I miss being out there every day and competing with my team, but I hope I can help make this team a special one as much as I can.”

With 10 upperclassmen and only five underclassmen, Geneseo is a veteran team in terms of age. This leadership and experience that comes with the college game will be a significan asset when it comes time to make a late season push.

The Knights have a lot of expectations to live up to this season, and it will start with a solid offense and the intense defense that they have been known for across the SUNYAC.

The Knights will scrimmage against Daemen College on Saturday Oct. 31 at 1:30 p.m.