The Geneseo women’s basketball team has once again clinched a playoff berth in the 2017-18 SUNYAC Tournament.
The Knights find themselves with a solid 17-2 record and a perfect 12-0 in conference play. Geneseo’s victory over the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons on Jan. 27 not only secured a playoff spot, but also inched the team closer to securing the crucial No. 1 seed for playoff season. In addition to spinning favorable matchups for the Knights, the No. 1 seed would also allow for home court advantage throughout the tournament.
The Knights came away with two astonishing wins this weekend against conference opponents Cortland and SUNY Oswego on Jan. 26. These victories, however, did not come unmotivated. The spark for the Knights’ nearly 2:1 scoring ratio came in the form of a rarity: a loss.
“It was definitely a wake-up call for us,” junior forward and captain McKenna Brooks said. “We aren't used to losing, so when it happened we all were disappointed.”
Brooks is referring to the nail biting 79-76 loss the Knights endured on Jan. 23 on the road against Rochester Institute of Technology. “We did not let it bring us down,” Brooks said.
“Rather it made us more determined to want to win every regular season game from here on out.”
Heading into the game against RIT, the Knights were ranked No. 24 in the nation for women’s Division III basketball. Following the loss, however, Geneseo failed to secure a spot within in the top 25 as of Jan. 28.
Brooks, a veteran and a major contributor to last year’s successful season, described how the team channeled the feelings surrounding the loss and used it as motivation. This certainly showed in the following weekend.
Geneseo outscored Oswego 19-2 in the first quarter of the game. The Lakers felt the full wrath of the recovering Knights as they went on to put up 24 points to Geneseo’s 67. Oswego was held to single digit numbers each quarter, signaling significant improvement to the defense that severely lacked in Geneseo’s previous game.
Within about 20 hours of their first game, the Knights were back on the court against a tougher component. The then No. 2 seed Cortland looked to put a dent in the Knights’ perfect conference record, but were unable to put up a fight. By the end of the first half, Geneseo had a 48-21 lead and managed to finish out the game with a 21-point lead.
Brooks had one of her best games of the season, having scored 18 points in 25 minutes against the Red Dragons. Brooks has found herself in a leadership position last year as only a sophomore, and she has continued to serve as a leader for the team in her role as team captain this year.
“I had to come out of my comfort zone a little bit this season and be the 'bad guy' in some situations to hold myself and my teammates accountable,” Brooks said.
With five regular season games remaining, Brooks offers some pretty confident insight. “As long as everyone on the team is all in and continues to work hard every day, we will be dominant the rest of the season,” Brooks said.
The Knight’s next game will be held Saturday Feb. 3 at 1 p.m. in Schrader Gymnasium. Geneseo will take on the No. 5 seed SUNY Brockport Golden Eagles.