Coming off of a two-game win streak, the SUNY New Paltz women’s basketball team hoped they were on their way to tacking on another gain at home.
On Saturday, Feb. 1 at 2 p.m., SUNY Oneonta was the next to take on the Hawks for a conference matchup.
First-year guard Olivia Badura kicked off the match for the Hawks with a good jumper. Oneonta’s fourth-year center Casey Hayes answered quickly with a layup to tie the game early at 2-2. New Paltz broke the tie with a layup in the paint from fourth-year guard Marion Dietz. Hawk’s fourth-year forward Maddie Van Pelt got a jumper of her own to bring the score to 6-2, Hawks.
The first quarter was a competitive one. The Red Dragons didn’t hang back for long, after a mini score streak of their own the lead was snatched away from the Hawks and the score now stood 9-6, Dragons. Thankfully, two good free throws from New Paltz’s first-year guard/forward Maddie Gillis kept the Dragons in arms reach.
First-year guard Lexi Van Vorst recognizes the importance of free throw opportunities.
“Getting to the free throw line gave us some easy points that we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise,” Van Vorst said. “We did a very good job of not putting them on the line as much as we did in a couple of our past games to give them easy baskets to get back in the game. It is a very important part of our game plan.”
Despite a layup from Badura and the first 3-pointer of the game from Van Pelt, the Hawks trailed 16-13 to end the first quarter.
The next quarter started off slowly. Both teams had a couple of missed opportunities and the score remained dormant for a while. At 6:53, Oneonta ended the dry spell with a layup from fourth-year guard Olivia Allrich. By 4:42, Oneonta held a nine point lead over the Hawks.
Free throws kept the Hawks alive once more. Two good ones from Dietz and fourth-year guard/forward Paige Niemeyer tacked on four more points. New Paltz also scored two 3-pointers from Niemeyer and Van Pelt. The score was 26-23 Oneonta to end the first half.
The Hawks turned it around in the third quarter. First-year guard Cassidy Deaver shot a 3-pointer to tie the game at 26. Although Oneonta again broke the tie, two more 3-pointers from Niemeyer and fourth-year forward Philesha Teape gave New Paltz the lead for the first time in a while.
“The corrections our team had to make for the second half that we talked about at halftime was to come out and be more aggressive, more alert on defense and we knew that if our energy was raised on defense it would kick-start our offense,” Gillis said.
Their offense certainly did kick in. From there, the Hawks received some much needed momentum. Scoring 11 points in a row on jumpers, a 3-pointer, free throw and a layup, finally it was time for the Dragons to trail 43-30. A jumper within the last four seconds of the quarter from Van Pelt brought New Paltz to a 46-34 lead.
For the last quarter of the game, New Paltz matched their energy of the previous one. Niemeyer had an impressive run, earning the first six points of the quarter on her own. Niemeyer would end up tying Van Pelt for first in points scored with 16.
New Paltz’s scoring streak continued even after Niemeyer ended hers. At 6:40, the Hawks were up 20 points, a very different story from the first half.
It only got better from there. With help from first-year guard/forward Gabby Palladino and first-year guard Graci Serravillo the Hawks extended their lead further and further. First-year guard/forward Victoria Venus earned the last score of the game, a jumper in the paint, to give New Paltz the win 71-41.
The Lady Hawks led in points off turnovers 32-9, bench points 20-11 and fast break points 10-1. This is the third year in a row that New Paltz has beaten Oneonta, but the first year since December 2016 that they’ve beaten them at home.
New Paltz now has an overall record of 15-3, with 10-1 in the conference and a three-game win streak.
The ladies are looking forward to their Green Out Game at home, on Friday, Feb. 7 at 5:30 p.m. against SUNY Geneseo.