Women’s basketball fights to remain undefeated

Senior guard Kayleigh Cavanaugh takes the ball up the court during the Knights game against SUNY Plattsburgh on Saturday Jan. 21. The women finished the home game with a 66-46 victory, contributing to their perfect 18-0 record for the season.

The Geneseo women’s basketball team is once again putting up an impressive and record-worthy season. With Tuesday Jan. 24’s 61-47 win over the Buffalo State Bengals, the Knights have carried on their perfect season and now stand at 18-0. 

The women’s basketball team is no stranger to being ranked at the top of the SUNYAC conference. With an 18-0 record and second place SUNY Oneonta and SUNY Cortland trailing by more than three games, the potential of snagging a high playoff seed seems expected. 

The perfect record, however, does not account for the one major loss that both the basketball team and the Knights community experienced at the beginning of winter break, when freshman guard Savannah Williams was killed in a car accident in December. This drew a major emotional setback in what had otherwise been a very progressive season. 

The Knights were scheduled to play a game just under two weeks after Williams’ death against Medaille College on Jan. 2., and although there was speculation regarding the possible rescheduling of this game, the Knights went on to defeat Medaille College 59-40. 

“It wasn’t easy to get back on the floor without somebody that the team was close to—but they pulled together and learned to lean on each other during the adversity they’ve been through in the last year,” head coach Scott Hemer said. “We had some choices to make on how we were going to approach it, and I admire the way my players stepped up to the challenge.”

Despite the tragic loss of a teammate, the Knights have had an explosive January thus far. Not only have they outscored their opponents on average by more than 15 points per game, but they also have had some intense games as well.

Students returning to the Geneseo campus for the spring semester were in for a treat when the Knights took the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers into overtime. Geneseo won the game 62-60 in a nail biting finish. 

The match was also well attended, as many students and faculty alike showed to demonstrate their support for a team shaken by tragedy. The crowd helped to motivate and shape the outcome of that game, as RIT was one of the toughest teams Geneseo has faced this season, according to Hemer. 

The Knights are at the pinnacle of the SUNYAC conference right now. Although there is a nice cushion between them and their opponents, there is also an increased amount of pressure. Time and time again, teams at both the collegiate and professional level have been known to choke during games that matter most out of sheer comfort of being on top. 

“It’s like a mountain climb; the higher you climb, the thinner the air,” Hemer said. “I think the team is starting to see that everybody is trying to be that team that will knock them off—but I don’t think it changes who we are and what our goals are for the year.”