The women’s basketball team has concluded their season as the Hawks fell to host Rowan University, 93-75 in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Div. III Tournament on Friday, March 4.
With the loss, the Hawks finished the 2015-16 campaign with a 21-7 overall record and 14-4 State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) tally.
Hawks head coach Jamie Seward said the season was enjoyable, however it ended a lot quicker than they would have liked.
“We thought we had the type of team that could have made a run,” Seward said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t play out that way.”
Rowan held the lead throughout the duration of the game. However, the Hawks were able to tie the score 22-all at the 9:53 mark of the second quarter.
New Paltz shot 35.6 (26-of-73) percent from the floor, held a 49-40 edge in rebounds and tallied 43 bench points. Rowan made 47.8 percent of their shots from the floor.
Hawks first-year guard Lindsay Bettke tallied a team-high 20 points coming off the bench. Bettke converted 8-of-12 from the field, 2-of-4 from the 3-point range and 2-of-3 from the line. Third-year co-captain Kit Small recorded 15 points for the Hawks. Third-year guard and forward Morgan Roessler contributed 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds off the bench. Hawks third-year co-captain Courtney Irby matched Roessler’s rebound total.
Rowan’s third-year guard Valerie Garofalo and graduate guard and forward Kaitlin Schullstrom both tallied 18 points that night.
Seward said the Hawks did not play their best game and could not figure out how to attack the full-court pressure.
“They played faster than anybody that we played,” he said. “We would like to think that we played pretty fast. They played in a different way. They didn’t give you any time to take a deep breath. It got us in some scramble type of situations defensively.”
Irby said playing in the NCAA Tournament was a great feeling, which was a result of hard work by the team.
“I was blessed to have had the opportunity to experience it,” she said. “I’m glad to have experienced it with my team, we were all excited and very happy.”
The Hawks have three graduating players who will not be returning next season. They are fourth-year co-captain Goldie Harrison, fourth-year guard Colleen Ames and fourth-year guard Dariah Duncan.
Harrison finished her Hawks career with 632 points. Ames wraps up her career recording 407 points, including 82 converted 3-pointers.
Seward credits the leadership of all three seniors and fellow co-captains Small and Irby to the team’s success this season. He said with Harrison being the only player to compete in the Hawks only other appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2013, experience is a key to success.
“I think that makes a big difference,” he said. “I’m also glad that we got to get some experience for the younger players and hope that we can navigate our way back into this point. Now the challenge is getting back there because it is no easy task.”
Up next for the Hawks will be a couple of weeks off followed by individual postseason meetings. They will begin their 2016-17 season on Oct. 15.
“The team coming in that day [Oct. 15] has that chip on their shoulder,” Seward said. “They want to take it steps farther and get back to where we ended up this year.”