Following a productive slew of games over winter break, the Geneseo women’s basketball team has rocketed to a record of 17 wins and one defeat. The single loss against SUNY New Paltz on Jan. 12 stirred the team’s competitive spirit but has not shaken their confidence going forward.
“Break went well for us in terms of wins and losses,” head coach Alyssa Polosky said. “We still have lots of things we have to work on and even though it feels like the season has gone on a long time now, it’s now about to get really crazy. Right now we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, which is the playoff picture.”
Since classes started on Jan. 23, the Knights staged a clear conquest over a set of three SUNYAC opponents.
On Friday Jan. 25, Geneseo defeated the SUNY Potsdam Bears 72-48. The Bears brought a competitive edge to the first half outscoring the Knights 29-25 but the 47 points the Knights scored in the second half ended any doubts in the outcome. Senior forward McKenna Brooks led the team by scoring 19 points, while sophomore guard Lindsay Halpin and junior guard Sara Ciotti kept the Knights’ side clear with six combined steals.
“Potsdam [third quarter] was just crazy because we just went on runs and we all were just playing so well,” Brooks said. “It kind of stinks that it took us being down to play like that, but it was so fun.”
The Knights followed up on Friday’s success with a close game against the SUNY Plattsburgh Cardinals. Plattsburgh brought their “A game” to the first half on their home court with 38 points, while the Knights—tormented by a series of turnovers in the second quarter—managed to put up only 32. Eventually the Knights managed to eke out a 74-65 win over the Cardinals after a 42-point second half. In that half, sophomore forward Kerrin Montgomery alone scored 13 points.
Ciotti underscored Montgomery’s contributions as well as the overall collaborative effort behind the victory.
“I think a [highlight of the past few games] is our sophomore Kerrin Montgomery,” Ciotti said. “She’s just playing super well. She’s had a couple double-doubles and she’s been in the twenties pretty consistently. She’s been huge for us down the stretch.”
Sophomore guard Natalie Alfieri highlighted the difficulty present with the pattern of falling behind in the first half and coming out on top in the second.
“When it comes down to the wire, we just turn it on and we know we’re not going to lose because we start throttling the other team until they can’t catch up to us,” Alfieri said. “But I think we need to start off with that from the get-go, from the first minute. We need to not let them catch up at first because good teams aren’t going to let us come back after the half, but luckily we’ve been able to come back the last few games.”
When Geneseo returned for their fifth home game of the season, they demonstrated why they sit at the head of the SUNYAC pack in a rout of the Buffalo State Bengals. The Knights ended the first half leading 44-18. Although Buffalo State managed to put together a remarkable 48 points in the second half, the Knights proved unreachable with a final score of 84-66.
With home games on Friday Feb. 1 and Saturday Feb. 2, Geneseo hopes to maintain its momentum against tough competitors like Oneonta and New Paltz. New Paltz delivered the Knights’ only defeat so far this season and Geneseo wants a rematch not only as recompense, but also to continue in a top position for SUNYACs.
“We all know that these are huge games especially now since we have a loss against New Paltz who we’ll play this weekend,” Brooks said. “We know that if we don’t win, we can’t host [SUNYAC playoffs] and we really want to host so that’s huge. In practice, we’re trying to focus on that.”
Overall, Polosky feels that the team’s goal going forward should be finding the motivation to consistently overcome a tough set of teams.
“We have to understand that when other teams play us, that’s their national championship because it’s their chance to knock off a nationally ranked opponent,” Polosky said. “We have to come in with the mindset every game that we’re going to figuratively throw the first punch and not wait until our back is against the wall to start performing at the level that we can.”