The women’s basketball team tipped off their 2016-17 season with a 74-71 nonconference win over Hudson River rival Vassar College in Poughkeepsie on Tuesday, Nov. 15.
After the first quarter, the Hawks trailed by seven with the Brewers leading 21-14. Despite falling behind early, the Hawks were able to pull away with the win.
“The first game there’s a lot of mistakes, so it’s which team can respond best to those mistakes and I thought we did a good job, even though we fell behind a couple of times,” Hawks head coach Jamie Seward said. “We didn’t panic, kept playing, eventually made some plays and pulled out a win. Not pretty, a lot of work to do, but typical first game.”
Hawks fourth-year co-captain Kit Small registered a game-high 22 points in the victory. She is now five points away from surpassing 1,000 for her collegiate career and after Tuesday’s win, has sole possession of fourth place in career points as a Hawk. Fellow fourth-year co-captain Courtney Irby opened the season with a double-double, scoring 16 points and grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds. Irby finished last season with nine double-doubles.
Off the bench, Hawks first-year forward Paige Niemeyer contributed 15 points in her first collegiate game. Small, Irby and Niemeyer all scored in double figures in the second half, leading the Hawks to a season-opening victory.
With a new season underway, the defending State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Champions start the new campaign with five straight nonconference games before facing SUNY Geneseo on Friday, Dec. 2. The Hawks ended their 2015-16 schedule falling to the Rowan University Profs in a score of 93-75 in the first round of the NCAA Div. III Tournament.
“It’s a new season,” said Seward, who begins his 11th season at the helm. “We don’t actually defend anything, it starts all over again. We have to go out there and get better every day at practice and every game that we play and just progress. Hopefully we will put ourselves in a position late in the season to be playing our best basketball and be in a position that it matters, if we are indeed playing our best basketball.”
Seward said the team needs to develop their depth, with third-year co-captain Jasmine Bryant sidelined with an injury. Bryant tallied 10 points in seven games last season, starting in a career-high 20 games.
Compared to last year’s team, this Hawks roster fills out with eight first-years—five more than the previous season. They are guards, Marion Dietz, Kei-Tavia Glover, Sandi Harris and Taija Pink, with forwards Niemeyer, Brianna Alberga, Philesha Teape and Maddie Van Pelt.
“They are a very talented class, and we already have a couple who play like they’ve been here for a while,” Small said.
The Hawks will next travel to Rochester to participate in the Chuck Resler Invitational Tournament.
Irby said the team is preparing by identifying our weaknesses based off of the game against Vassar and working to lessen or even cut back on them.
“Once we perfect that we will be unstoppable and continue to get win after win,” she said.
During the tournament, the Hawks will be facing the University of Rochester on Friday, Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. The following day, they will be taking on either No. 5 University of Scranton or the University of Mount Union at 3 p.m. or 8 p.m., still to be determined. To open their home season, the Hawks will play Hartwick College on Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 6 p.m. at the Hawk Center.
“We look at every game as an opportunity and with that opportunity we go out and show everyone who we are,” Irby said. “We are definitely excited and happy to be invited to play in a competitive tournament and will compete every second of our games to establish the win!”
• Fourth-Year co-captain Kit Small scored a game-high 22 points, putting her in sole possession of fourth place in career points as a Hawk. She is five points away (995) from surpassing 1,000 points in her collegiate career
• Fellow fourth-Year co-captain Courtney Irby recorded a double-double, scoring 16 points and grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds. Last season, she finished with nine double-doubles