After sweeping a five-game homestand and dropping two out of three on the road, the Women’s basketball team is in third place in the SUNYAC standings.
The Hawks beat both SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Plattsburgh to conclude their five-game homestand sweep from Friday, Feb. 6 to Saturday, Feb. 7. In the first game, first-year guard/forward Laura Stuart scored a career-high 12 points off the bench for the Hawks and grabbed six rebounds as well. Two other Hawks finished the game in double-figures, including second-year guard/forward Kit Small and second-year forward Courtney Irby who each scored 10 points. New Paltz forced 26 Potsdam turnovers, scoring 34 points off those mistakes, and held a 58-41 edge on the glass.
Fourth-year co-Captain Shannan Walker scored a team-high 18 points for the Hawks against SUNY Plattsburgh the following day. Three Hawks finished in double-figures against SUNY Plattsburgh including Walker (18), Small (17) and Irby (15). Irby also led the Hawks in rebounds with nine. Turnovers were key to the Hawks’ success, as they scored 18 points off of 20 Plattsburgh turnovers.
Three days later, the Hawks began their three-game road trip at SUNY Oswego, where they were defeated 72-49 on Tuesday, Feb. 10. Second-year guard/forward Kit Small scored a team-high 13 points for the Hawks. Two other Hawks finished in double-figures for the Hawks as Irby scored 12 points and third-year co-Captain Christine Rivera scored 12.
The Hawks next traveled to SUNY Geneseo on Friday, Feb. 13 to take on the number one seed in the conference and were defeated 74-61. Small scored a team-high 18 points and tallied six assists for the Hawks.
The following day, Head Coach Jamie Seward recorded his 150th career win in his ninth-year at the helm as the Hawks defeated The College at Brockport 72-69. With the win, Seward moved to 150-88 overall, with a 107-47 record in SUNYAC play. Four players finished in double-figures for the Hawks, including third-year guard/forward Colleen Ames who scored 13 points off the bench, Small (12), first-year guard Sydney Pinn (11) and Walker (10).
Seward said the team made a couple of big plays in the last minute of play.
“To get out of there and salvage a win was big for confidence sake and moving forward and getting a positive-mindset going into this last weekend of the regular season,” he said.
With an overall record of 15-8 and 11-5 record in SUNYAC play, the Hawks will host a pair of SUNYAC matchups to conclude their regular season at the Hawk Center. On Friday, Feb. 20, the Hawks will take on Buffalo State at 7:30 p.m. In their previous matchup, the Hawks lost in a one-point game. Buffalo State is the only conference team the Hawks have not defeated at least once this season. The following day, the Hawks will play SUNY Fredonia at 4 p.m. Earlier in the season, the Hawks defeated the Blue Devils 73-67.
Seward said the team has struggled with defensive strategy, which they will be working on to prepare for the final two regular season games and the conference tournament, in which the Hawks will be playing a home game in the first round. If the team wins one of the two games this weekend, they will clinch the third seed in the conference. The worst they could finish is fourth.
“It would be nice to get that one and know that there’s nobody we’re going to play that we haven’t been able to beat at some point,” he said. “But we know we’re going to have to play well. You want to be playing your best at this time of year. I think more importantly, we want to get some things righted that we’ve had some issues with in recent games and get everything firing on all cylinders heading into the conference tournament.”
Walker said even though the team did not do as well on the road last week, they learned a lot about what they need to work on to finish the season strong.
“We’re more motivated than ever to make the right adjustments and play our best basketball going into the conference tournament,” she said. “We love defending our home court so it’s really important for us to finish the regular season with two great home wins. Our goal is to finish the regular season playing the best basketball we have all season and to win the SUNYAC Championship.”