After a long weekend of play, the Geneseo women’s basketball team has returned to campus with an improved record and an appreciation for perseverance.
The Knights had a busy schedule last weekend, facing SUNY Oneonta on Friday Dec. 1 and SUNY New Paltz on Saturday Dec. 2. Both games were rollercoasters within themselves.
On Friday, the Knights managed an 11-point lead over the Red Dragons at halftime. Things became more interesting as Oneonta outscored Geneseo 28-21 in the second half.
“We got out, we played fairly well, we got ourselves a nice lead and we stopped paying attention to detail,” head coach Scott Hemer said. “It allowed Oneonta to claw back in the game and make it a one possession game with a minute to go on the clock.”
Despite the efforts by the Red Dragons, Geneseo managed to hold onto the lead and secure their fifth victory of the season.
Friday’s game against Oneonta certainly saw a major shift in momentum; however, it only served as a precursor to the turbulence seen Saturday night in New Paltz. With a 15-point lead at halftime held by the New Paltz Hawks, defending SUNYAC Champions, New Paltz was sitting comfortably in the driver’s seat.
“Being down at half by 15 points was definitely not what we wanted,” freshman guard Lindsay Halpin said. “We were really determined to come back and get right back into the game.”
The Knights were able to overcome the massive deficit by shifting the focus to fundamentals and upping the intensity of play.
“Our energy really picked up in the second half and we just played the game play by play, and slowly inched our way back.” Halpin said.
Almost one-third of the team is comprised of freshmen. Having a young team has positive aspects—but also draws negatives, including inconsistency. As the team continues to find its identity, these wins sparked satisfaction from their coach.
“I give them all the credit in the world for being able to persevere like that and come away with a win [against New Paltz],” Hemer said. “I think it says a lot about their character and I hope they learn a lot from both games this weekend.”
Younger talent such as Halpin and freshman guard Natalie Alfieri have emerged as leaders in not only playing time, but scoring as well. Halpin, for example, averages 36.5 minutes per game and averages 12 points per game, only second to junior forward McKenna Brooks.
In most cases, playing time is earned and usually yields a larger presence from veterans on the court. With only one senior on the team, however, the court is open for everyone.
“At this point as a freshman, my playing time has exceeded what I thought,” Halpin said. “I’m lucky as a freshman to get the time I do.”
Moving into the season there certainly was some doubt about the team’s potential success. Having a different team means creating a new team dynamic, which can take time. With about a quarter of the season over, it is too early to pin point the trajectory for the rest of the games; however, it is clear the team is on the right track.
“I think as long as we continue to grow from each experience we are going to be in a good position moving forward,” Hemer said. “I always felt that the talent was there for this team to reload and not rebuild. The question was always ‘could they mentally get together enough to match a similar level of success that the program is accustomed to.’”
Geneseo will continue its season tomorrow night, Friday Dec. 8, as the Knights host the SUNY Potsdam Bears at 5:30 p.m.u