It was a narrow 83-80 win for the SUNY New Paltz women’s basketball team as they opened their season in Rochester.
The Lady Hawks took to the court against the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Tigers on Saturday evening. The Tigers went 20-8 last season, helped by a 12-game win streak. However, the Hawks topped that, going 25-5 with an even more impressive 21-game win streak.
Saturday evening started with a 3-0 lead for the Hawks as fourth-year guard Marion Dietz landed New Paltz’s first points of the season. Nearly 30 seconds later, the Tigers’ third-year guard Sabrina Wolfe put RIT on the board with a two-point layup. The Tigers built up their lead further with layups by fourth-year guards Kaleesha Joseph and Brooke Stanley, bringing RIT to a 6-3 advantage.
The teams remained evenly matched throughout the rest of the first quarter, ending it with a 22-22 tie.
New Paltz tamed the Tigers through the second quarter. The Hawks put on a show through the quarter, adding 29 points to their total and holding the Tigers to only 12 points in the same span. Fourth-year forward and former 2019 women’s volleyball player Maddie Van Pelt contributed to the Hawks dominance with a pair of two-pointers and a three pointer. Halftime approached with the Hawks garnering an impressive 51-34 lead.
The Hawks began the quarter with layups from Dietz and fourth-year forward Philesha Teape, bringing them to a 55-34 lead. However, it didn’t take long for the Tigers to escape from their cage after the halftime break.
RIT’s Wolfe had a breakout quarter, putting up five free throws and a layup, helping narrow her team’s deficit to only five-points, 67-52.
The final quarter would be a hotly contested one, as both teams traded scoring over the remaining 10 minutes. Dietz began the quarter with a layup 24 seconds in, but second-year Tigers guard Taylor Signore responded with a jump shot to bring the score to 64-59 Hawks. A jump shot by second-year forward Alyssa Jeurgens and a layup by first-year forward Kaleesha Joseph brought the Tigers within one point of tying the Hawks, but their opponent remained just out of reach.
The Hawks broadened their lead with a free throw by Van Pelt and a three pointer by Dietz to put them at 71-64. Free throws were the Hawks’ saving grace, as the Tigers racked up penalty after penalty. Three different New Paltz players scored 10 free throw points in the last quarter strictly because of Tigers’ mistakes. Jeurgens hit a three pointer with seconds remaining, but it was no use, as the Hawks managed to control the Tigers and win 83-80.
Dietz led the Hawks in multiple categories, including the most minutes played with 40, most points with 29 and the most successful free throws with three. While the upperclassmen controlled the stats sheet, the team welcomed eight new first-years. Lexi Van Vorst led the rookies by putting up six points, narrowly beating fellow first-year guard/forward Maddie Gillis who scored five points.
The Lady Hawks return to action in Boston for the Tufts Tip-Off Tournament as they play the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Engineers on Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. and the Tufts University Jumbos the following afternoon at 4 p.m.