Women’s basketball earns “Together We R” award

It was a record-breaking season for the Geneseo women’s basketball program, and it was recently capped off with a much-deserved team award.  

The team was honored with the “Together We R” award, given out by Russell Athletic and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. The award is given out to a team that overcomes unforeseen barriers during the current season and finishes the year with accomplishments that exceed expectations.  

The team must exemplify strong commitment to core values of togetherness, courage, unparalleled work ethic and heart, and must personify the “Together We R” belief that teams are stronger than individuals.  

“The determination and perseverance the players, coaches and families showed is a perfect demonstration of what we can endure when working together as a team,” said Russell Athletic Vice President of Marketing Matt Murphy.  

The “Together We R” award is a national honor—any team in any division is eligible to receive it. The Knights share the honor with the Northwestern University’s women’s basketball program. This is the second time in just 11 months that the Geneseo women’s basketball program has received this award.  

“Everyone associated with these programs came together to ensure they had the support needed to continue,” Murphy said. “Russell Athletic is proud to recognize SUNY Geneseo and Northwestern University with the ‘Together We R Award.’”

In terms of wins, the program saw its best season in school history. The Knights finished 25-0 in the regular season and earned a No. 1 seed in the SUNYAC Tournament.  

The girls went on to lose a hard-fought battle in the SUNYAC championship game to SUNY New Paltz, 58-57.

The Knights bounced back in the NCAA Tournament, beating Muhlenberg College in the first round, 65-53, and then beating the University of Rochester in the second round, 78-72. The Knights reached their second sweet 16 berth in three years before falling to Ohio Northern University, 72-55.

The women earned their highest national ranking in 20 years at the end of the year. The Knights were selected 13 in the Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Association NCAA Division III Top 25 and 14 in the D3hoops.com Top 25 poll.

Their previous best was in the 1994-95 season when they finished 15 in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and 16 in the D3hoops.com Top 25.  

Head coach Scott Hemer, who just finished his 10th season as the Knights’ head coach, led the Knights. The two-time SUNYAC coach of the year was also named the Rochester Area Coach of the Year. 

“Scott Hemer and Joe McKeown [Northwestern’s head coach] have demonstrated exemplary leadership … Scott and Joe’s commitment to their student-athletes and their families are a testament to the power of their calling as coaches,” WBCA Executive Director Danielle Donehew said.

On top of that, senior guards Kara Houppert and Katie Durand earned first-team selections on the Rochester Chapter of the United States Basketball Writers’ Association Division II and III teams. Houppert was also selected as a D3hoops.com All-Region second teamer.  

The Knights hope to keep the momentum going as they look to next year and strive for another great season.