Women’s basketball falls to RIT, loses winning streak

The Geneseo women’s basketball team is basking in the glory of what appears to be yet another impressive season as they maintain a 15-2 record.

The Knights took care of business up north as they swiftly defeated the SUNY Plattsburgh Cardinals on Friday Jan. 19. Geneseo then traveled to SUNY Potsdam for a Saturday night showdown on Jan. 20, during which the women crushed the Bears. Almost everyone on the Geneseo roster scored, leading to the Knights’ 83-37 victory over the 1-15 Bears.

These games saw plenty of playing time for everyone on the team. Underclassmen, like sophomore guard Sara Ciotti and sophomore guard Natalie DiSalvo received more playing time than usual, which they made sure to take advantage of. DiSalvo, who played for 25 minutes, led the team with 12 points, while Ciotti managed four rebounds through 18 minutes of play. 

Geneseo currently tops the SUNYAC leaderboard with a nearly perfect 15-2 record and a 10-0 conference record. The solid start, however, was not entirely expected by the team. After losing five starters last year, there was much uncertainty regarding how the women would succeed this season. Their record thus far has proven that such skepticism is unnecessary. 

“The juniors have stepped up as leaders as well as our one senior [guard] Sam Barry. She stepped up as leader on and off the court,” DiSalvo said. “We obviously don’t have that experience factor like we did last year, so we are trying to find ways to make up for it.” 

The team may have lost some key players this season, but this seasons additions have certainly become an important contributors to Geneseo’s success this season. 

“We definitively learned a lot from the girls last year, so we are taking that into this year,” DiSalvo said. “The freshmen came in really strong which helped.”

With dependable new players like freshmen guards Lindsay Halpin and Natalie Alfieri, the void left behind by the graduating class was quickly filled. 

With nearly a month left in regular season play, every matchup is important. As the team brutally found out last year, the postseason is full of surprises. After completing a perfect regular season and advancing to the SUNYAC Championship game, the 2016-17 team fell to an impressive SUNY New Paltz team.  With that in mind, the Knights are not taking any chances.

“We have to take it game by game,” DiSalvo said. “If we overlook any team, they can bite us.” 

The pressure of being the only undefeated team left in conference play has its advantages and drawbacks. The Knights channel that energy to their benefit by using it as motivation to play well and focus on each individual game. 

Regardless of the Knights’ conference success, the women fell to the Rochester Institute of Technology 79-76 on Tuesday Jan. 23, ending their victory streak.

Geneseo will continue conference play this weekend hosting the SUNY Oswego Lakers Friday Jan. 26 at 5:30 p.m. and the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons at 1 p.m. on Saturday Jan. 27.