The Women’s basketball team has won three out of five home games on their current homestand.
As of Thursday, Feb. 5, the Hawks are tied for second place with SUNY Cortland in the SUNYAC standings.
On Friday, Jan. 30, the Hawks defeated the Oswego Lakers 57-50. Going into halftime, the Lakers took a 23-22 lead. Rebounds were on the Hawks side as they held a 33-16 advantage on the glass going into the second half. Second-year guard/forward Kit Small led the team in points, scoring 13. She grabbed six rebounds, added two assists and one block on the evening. First-year guard Sydney Pinn tallied 12 points coming off the bench. First-year guard/forward Laura Stuart led the team in rebounds with 12.
Turnovers were a crucial part of the game, as the Hawks forced 28 Oswego turnovers and scored 20 points off those mistakes.
The following day, the Hawks defeated SUNY Cortland 75-65.
Fourth-year co-Captain Shannan Walker scored a game-high and career milestone 22 points, as she drained a career-high six three-pointers. Walker was one three-pointer away from tying the Hawk Center record set by guard Caitlin Irwin of New Paltz in 2008.
In addition to Walker, three other Hawks finished the game in double figures including Small, who tallied 14 points as well as second-year forward Courtney Irby and third-year guard/forward Colleen Ames, who each scored 11 points. Both Small and Irby recorded double-doubles as they grabbed 10 rebounds each.
Turnovers were key to the Hawks weekend wins as they converted 19 Red Dragons turnovers into 30 points throughout the matchup.
The Hawks briefly trailed at the beginning of the game, but took the lead with a game-high 17 points with 12 minutes remaining in the game..
On Tuesday, Feb. 3, the Hawks took down SUNY Oneonta 59-54. With the win, the Hawks swept the regular season series against the Red Dragons, the first occurance under ninth-year head coach Jamie Seward.
Small and fourth-year co-Captain Ashley Riefenhauser both tied a Hawks team-high in points scoring 11 each. Irby grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, including nine on the offensive end.
Seward said every game can make a big difference in the team’s playoff positioning, whether a team gets in and who they are going to be matched up against. Playing well at home is an important part of a team’s success, he said.
“Every one is important, and it was much more important to be able to hold serve at home and do what we needed to do and get those wins at home,” he said.
To prepare for upcoming games, Walker said the team is really focusing on how to keep improving themselves, instead of trying to figure out how to beat opponents.
“We want to be the most aggressive and tough team in the conference so we continue to work on things like our press and rebounding that utilizes our athleticism and quickness against other teams,” she said.
Seward credits the leadership of the team’s seniors and captains to their success as a whole.
“They just really set a tone and aren’t willing to allow us to settle for anything less than what we’re capable of,” he said. “We feel like we haven’t even approached anywhere near that level yet, so we’re trying to still build towards it.”
With a record of 8-3 in SUNYAC play and 12-6 overall record, the Hawks finish out their five-game homestand with two more games against SUNYAC opponents. The Hawks next take on SUNY Potsdam on Friday, Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m. and the following day face SUNY Plattsburgh at 4 p.m.
The Hawks have previously played their two upcoming opponents in early December. New Paltz took the loss to SUNY Plattsburgh in their first SUNYAC matchup of the season 71-65 on Friday, Dec. 5. The following day, the Hawks beat SUNY Potsdam 71-51.
Walker said it is difficult to win on the road in the league. Winning during the five-game homestand is extremely important, she said.
“We love winning on our home court and we’re not planning on letting another SUNYAC team win here besides us,” she said.
Seward said the team knows it is going to be a very difficult task and they are not really looking at where they rank in the standings.
“We better have a good couple of days of practice heading into these upcoming games and be both physically and mentally prepared to continue to move forward and try to get towards that peaking level in another three-to-four weeks,” he said. “We could be somewhere completely different in just a week from today or three weeks from today, so there is a lot of basketball left to play.”