Coming from a bounce-back win over Oswego, the New Paltz Women’s Basketball Team was looking for another game to add to their positive record on the road against Buffalo State at the Bengals Sports Arena. Unfortunately, due to the ice storm that took place last Friday and Saturday, the weekend games against Buffalo and Fredonia were postponed to Sunday and Monday night, respectively, and the winning momentum between the scheduled matches definitely affected the team.
The match-up was neck-and-neck for its entirety, having eight lead differences with the score tied at an additional eight times throughout the contest. New Paltz was either two points ahead or a basket behind at the end of each quarter.
Starting off in the fourth quarter with a three-point lead, the Bengals persevered and went on an 8-0 lead over the Lady Hawks, until third-year guard/forward Maddie Gillis made a free-throw and cut the difference to three with five minutes to go. Yet a four-point push by Buffalo State catapulted the hosting team into a seven-point cushion. Bengal Tashawni Cornfield finished a two-point jumper and a successfully stole to score again.
The Lady Hawks tried to catch up for the rest of the 3:44 remaining, but could not hit enough free points at the foul line to tie the game, suffering their sixth lost of the season.
“[The team has] a lot of things [they] need to improve on… and figure out how to do those things consistently,” said SUNY New Paltz’s Head Coach, Jamie Seward in an interview with Athletic Communiation Director, Monica D’Ippolito.
The Hawks suffered 13 first-half turnovers, allowing the Bengals to take over and score 19 first-half points.
SUNY New Paltz had a sluggish start to the third quarter with third-year guard Graci Serravillo finally putting a stop to an 8-0 drive by the Bengals with a banked shot in the paint to cut the deficit, 39-35. Third-years Victoria Venus, Cassidy Deawer and Lexi Van Vorst dominated the offense for two possesions, putting the Hawks one point behind the Bengals.
Even though Buffalo State held a lead of 10 points with less than four minutes to go, the Lady Hawks chipped away to climb back in. Serravillo got the rally started with a finish in the paint to trim the difference to eight. Then New Paltz’s defense stepped up to to the plate, allowing them to add on after Van Vorst forced a turnover on a steal and added more at the foul line, making 1-of-2.
However, these missed foul shots proved to be a lethal kryptonite for the Lady Hawks, which finished 12-for-20 from the line and ultimately lost them the game. “Missed free throws are always big,” said Seward. “They’re supposed to be free points, but that definitely hasn’t been the case for us.” Seward also acknowledges that time is running out to fix these problems because there is only five SUNYAC games left in the season.
The Lady Hawks must win three out of their next five games in order to have a better seed in the post-season SUNYAC tournament, which kicks off its first round on Feb. 22. You can show your support for their journey by heading to the Hawk Center on Feb. 11 at 5:30 p.m., when they verse off SUNY Oswego.