Women's basketball gains at-large bid to NCAA Tournament

The Geneseo women’s basketball team had an outstanding win versus SUNY Fredonia in the semifinals of the SUNYAC Tournament, but came up short in the championship by falling to SUNY New Paltz.

The Knights defeated Fredonia in a blowout 71-41 semifinal win. Senior forward Allison McKenna led the team, posting 18 points and nine rebounds on 7-of-10 shooting from the field in 24 minutes. Other key contributions from the game came from senior point guard Dana Cohan—who ended the game with 12 points and seven assists—and junior guard Kara Houppert—who added eight points and four rebounds. 

Geneseo put up 25 bench points in the win to Fredonia’s 14. While this isn’t a large margin, it shows that Geneseo has depth and is able to call on reserves to provide a punch when they need it.

The Knights also had four current members of their team honored on Friday Feb. 26 in between the semifinal games. Former forwards and current assistant coaches Alyssa Polosky ’12 and Shannon McGinnis ’15—as well as McKenna and Cohan—received recognition for their selections to All-SUNYAC teams in their respective years. McGinnis said it was an honor to be recognized for their hard work.

“Although many alumni were unable to make the ceremony, it was still a great experience to see and meet players from various years who made a great impact on our conference,” she said.

With a head of steam going into the championship game, the Knights looked to dethrone New Paltz—a team that had beaten them twice previously this season. Geneseo entered the second quarter with the score at 14-12 New Paltz, but only put up eight points to New Paltz’s 14 in the second; leaving Geneseo with an eight-point deficit going into halftime. The Knights were unable to rebound from that and lost the game 65-52.

Although the Knights lost in the championship, they still received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. This is the second consecutive year Geneseo has participated in the women’s basketball postseason. This may seem like déjà vu for the women, as they are matched up with Fairleigh Dickinson University at Florham—the same team that knocked last year’s Geneseo squad out of the Sweet 16. According to junior guard Kayleigh Cavanaugh, however, the team is more than ready for the challenge.

“This is a familiar opponent, so we should be able to do some things differently and hopefully come out with a better result. A big part of our success this season was our chemistry and just how close we are on and off the court,” Cavanaugh said. “As far as next year goes, we are looking to repeat the success we had this year and, personally, I am trying to end my basketball career on a high note.”

The Knights travel to Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey to face FDU-Florham on Friday March 4.