Knights rely on defense to spark win streak

The Geneseo women’s basketball team’s season is underway and the Knights are looking to improve on the success they had last season: a 25-5 record coupled with making it to the third round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. This year’s team has already demonstrated what they are capable of by turning in some strong performances early on. Though the season has just gotten underway, the Knights have shown that they are yet again going to be a tough matchup for any team.

Starting off their season on Nov. 20 against Gettysburg College in the Jim Crawley Tournament, the 20th ranked—according to the USA Today Sports Preseason Division III Women’s Basketball Coaches PollKnights fell in a close game 50-47. Though the end score was not the one that the Knights had hoped for, the game exhibited strong individual performances by senior forward Allison McKenna, freshman forward McKenna Brooks and senior guard Dana Cohan. Not only did the three players’ points account for a combined 43 of the team’s 47 points, but their rebounds totaled to 21 of the teams 44 rebounds.

The strong performances of McKenna, Brooks and Cohan carried over to the rest of the team. The women would go on to blow out St. Joseph’s-Brooklyn in the Nov. 21 consolation game of the tournament. The final score was 78-37 with the Knights exhibiting a high level of consistent play and with Brooks tallying up a game high 18 points.

The Knights were able to take a 31-10 lead in the second quarter against St. Joseph’s-Brooklyn and never looked back. The real difference maker was on the boards for Geneseo. They they were able to absolutely dominate; out rebounding their opposition 61-27—which consequently led to 27 second chance points and a victory for the Knights. These strong performances are essential for a team that has lost intricate pieces of last year’s team.

After graduating three key players last year, we will need to find ways to replace both scoring and rebounding,” Cohan said. “Allison McKenna will be relied on heavily but contributions from our junior class will also be very important for us to be successful this season.”

Perhaps the strongest game by the Knights so far was the Nov. 24 win against Vassar College. In a tight 70-66 win, the Knights had their best all-around performance with five different players scoring in double digits. Senior forward Lea Sobieraski paced the Knights with her dominant performance off the bench, getting a double-double on 10 points with 12 rebounds.

Rebounding has always been my strength; I understand how important it is for me to crash the boards whenever I am in the game,” Sobieraski said. “One thing our coach has always told us is that you should control what you can control: attitude and effort. I am going to have days where I miss layups and my shot isn't falling, but I can control my defense and rebounding.”

Sobieraski—who is also the team captain—added that the team has a high standard of performance that they expect from themselves personally and collectively.

“We expect to win the SUNYAC and make the NCAA Tournament; this is our expectation of one another,” she said. “Every day, we work to get better, both individually and, more importantly, as one unit. We have the talent to go far; it is the hard work and paying attention to detail that will get us there.”