The highly successful New Paltz women’s basketball season came to a close this past Friday with a staggering 50-81 loss against the No. 2 nationally ranked Bowdoin College. Clinching the No. 22 ranking in the nation, the Hawks end their record-breaking season sporting their fourth State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) championship win and second Sweet Sixteen appearance in the last three years.
“Friday was tough, but as I told the players, that’s what competitive athletics is; success searching for a point of failure, and we certainly found that point of failure on Friday,” said Hawks head coach Jamie Seward. “However, all but one team in the country will find that point as well, and over 400 programs found it long before us. That is something to be very proud of, and while we are very disappointed, we are also very proud.”
The Hawks struggled from the field in the first quarter and after a layup from third-year guard Marion Dietz, couldn’t find the basket to spark a 12-0 Bowdoin run. Fourth-year guard Lindsay Bettke hit a 3-pointer at 4:58 to get New Paltz back in the action, finishing the quarter with no more than a six-point deficit.
The second quarter spelled trouble for the Hawks, as fourth-year guard Lindsay Bettke rolled her ankle on an assist from Simon midway through the quarter, forcing her to step off the court. In spite of the loss of their lead-scorer, New Paltz managed to cut Bowdoin’s lead to 33-27 at the buzzer.
“I just think Bowdoin came out more aggressive than us from the start and we played catch up the whole time,” Bettke said. “We were holding our own for a while, but I went down with an ankle injury, we just were struggling to put the ball in the basket and we had some bad turnovers.”
New Paltz didn’t want to end their streak without a fight, and were within seven points of Bowdoin in the third quarter. However, misses and turnovers on the Hawks behalf gave Bowdoin the advantage, as the Polar Bears went on another 13-0 run in only three minutes.
With the Hawks disheartened and down a player, the fourth quarter was all Bowdoin. New Paltz shot 0-12 from 3-point range and only 20.5 percent from the field in the second half, ending their historic season with a 30-point loss.
Dietz scored 13 points and tallied three steals in her final game of the season, while Simon and Bettke had 11 and nine points, respectively, to end their collegiate careers.
New Paltz ends their season on a bittersweet note, saying goodbye to three of their most prolific shooters in program history. Simon, Bettke and fourth-year guard Taylor Howell will all turn in their uniforms for the Hawks, and make room for new recruits coming in.
“I’d like to thank my team, coaches, family, friends and fans for always being there for me and pushing me to my fullest potential. It’s been a great ride and I’m sad to know it’s over, but the memories I made through this program will last a lifetime,” Bettke said.
Howell ends her four-year career with 513 minutes of playing time for the 2018-2019 season, along with 200 total points. The SUNYAC player of the year Bettke finishes her fourth year with over 1000 points scored in her career and 459 this season alone. Simon finishes her two years as a Hawk with 907 points and 1771 minutes of playing time.
“This team is special,” Simon said. “This team has something that I can’t explain. The feeling of being a part of this is something that I’ll be able to think about, and, quite honestly, get all choked up about every single time.”