Women’s basketball keeps perfect conference record, earns opportunity to host SUNYAC Playoffs

The Geneseo women’s basketball team continues to show why they are at the forefront of the SUNYAC. With a 21-2 overall record, the Knights remain at the top of the division and find themselves in good shape for the upcoming playoffs. 

The team’s game on Saturday Feb. 10—which resulted in a 75-58 win against the SUNY Oneonta Red Dragons—didn’t appear unique at first. The win boosted Geneseo’s in-conference record to 16-0, but more importantly, it helped to clinch the No. 1 seed for the 2018 SUNYAC Tournament. 

Fortifying the No. 1 spot locks down a home court advantage for the entirety of the playoffs, which can significantly impact the outcome of crucial games. The women are not, however, using the advantage as an excuse to dial back their level of play.

“Securing the No. 1 seed is great for us, and it makes us work even harder in practice and in games to show people that we do belong there,” freshman guard Lindsay Halpin said.

Fans shouldn’t expect the Knights to cool off in their last two regular season games either. Since their nail biting 79-76 loss to the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers on Jan. 23—which knocked Geneseo from the national rankings—the Knights have been on a tear. As a matter of fact, the women have defeated their opponents by an average of 23 points since that loss.

“In the locker room, it’s always the same—we all want to win for each other and our coaches, which really keeps us going as a whole.” Halpin said.

The Knights will be on the road this Friday against the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons, who are in a tight race with Oneonta and SUNY New Paltz for the No. 2 seed. Geneseo will end their regular season against the SUNY Oswego Lakers on Saturday Feb. 17, who have been eliminated from playoff contention. 

As for the game against Oneonta, the Knights certainly made a statement. The energy level was at a high from players, coaches and fans in the Schrader Gymnasium. With a lot on the line for both the Knights and Red Dragons, each team pulled out all the stops in hopes of being victorious.

Geneseo junior forward McKenna Brooks made a noticeable impression under the net as the veteran managed 10 rebounds in 29 minutes of play. Halpin and freshman guard Natalie Alfieri played for 33 minutes and helped lead the Knights to their sixth consecutive win. 

Halpin, who has emerged as a key player this season, had multiple offensive steals and kept the game moving at a high tempo while scoring 21 points in the process. She also hit four of six 3 pointers. 

“My teammates helped me score the amount I did. They gave me great passes and open looks, and I was just lucky enough to hit the shots. I couldn’t have gotten those baskets without them,” Halpin said.

The Knights will travel to Cortland on Friday Feb. 16. Even with the No. 1 seed set in stone for the playoffs, they are going to play this game as if it is as important as all of the rest.