The Women’s basketball team has opened their season with three straight nonconference wins.
To start the season, the Hawks participated in the 39th annual Skidmore Tournament, playing two games.
Hawks Head Coach Jamie Seward said the team talked about responding to the sense of the chaotic first-game jitters and mistakes that come into play in a season opener.
“We knew the first game is going to be a lot of mistakes and a lot of chaos, and really about the team that is best able to respond to that environment,” he said. “We did a really good job of that. We made a lot of mistakes but we responded well to them and ultimately, we did enough to get the win. I really like a lot of what was going on, not necessarily on the floor, but just with the team. They had a great attitude and camaraderie. You can just sense that there are some good things happening, even if they were not visible out on the court.”
In the first of two games at the tournament, the Hawks took a 62-45 win against Skidmore College on Friday, Nov. 13.
Entering halftime, the Hawks led 34-16.Hawks third-year co-Captain Kit Small led the team with 20 points. Fellow third-year co-Captain Courtney Irby grabbed a team-high nine rebounds and shot 4-of-4 from the free-throw line.
As a team, the Hawks shot 60 percent from the floor and 34 percent from the field
The following day, the Hawks left Saratoga Springs with a win against Saint Joseph’s College (Maine) by a score of 72-44.
New Paltz held a 66-39 advantage in rebounds.
Individually, both Small and second-year guard and forward Laura Stuart both recorded double-figures in points and rebounds, each earning a double-double. Small collected 15 points, which led the team and tallied 10 rebounds while Stuart recorded a career-high 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Hawks second-year guard Sydney Pinn notched 14 points — a career-high.
Small was named State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Women’s Basketball Player of the Week, as announced on Monday, Nov. 16 by the conference office.
Irby said this year’s team is different than last year’s because they are all on the same page.
“We know what we want and will do whatever it takes to get it,” Irby said. “I love that so much about our team. Last year we would prepare so hard for the other teams by running all their plays and watching their film but that has changed. We’re just going to continue what we do best and that is sticking to our defense and pushing the ball in transition, attack and keep attacking them until 40 minutes is up.”
In their home opener on Wednesday, Nov. 18, the Hawks defeated Ithaca College in a 71-63 victory at the Hawk Center.
Irby led the Hawks scoring 14 points. Third-year guard and forward Morgan Roessler picked up 10 points and nine rebounds coming off the Hawks bench.
Seward said this year’s team is really versatile, compared to last year, with big, athletic bodies that can play different places and guard a lot of positions on the floor, giving the team a lot of flexibility.
“We can go with some really big lineups,” he said. “We have a bunch of girls that can shoot the ball, so we don’t really lose anything even if we go big. We still have as much offensive firepower. I think we are probably just as if-not-more athletic than last year, but yet we are a lot bigger. It is a nice combination.”
With a 3-0 record, the Hawks will take on Hartwick College and Mount Saint Mary College before beginning a five-game homestand against New York University on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m.
Seward said the team is not focused on the long-term goals at the end of the season, but the day-to-day process.
“That is what we talked about as opposed to we want to win this number of games or play in this type of game and we think that those things will ultimately take care of themselves,” he said. “That is really what we talk about as far as goals. It is more about what we believe in for example, having fun. We are going to talk about what that looks like out on the court. It is people laughing and enjoying themselves and then the outcome is enjoying the ride.”