Before losing Wednesday night to Division I Stony Brook University 87-50, the women’s basketball team earned a solid 81-54 win against the Catholic University of America on Sunday.
The win came after a 79-71 overtime loss against RIT and a 92-81 win against Vassar College on Nov. 13, making the team 2-2 before conference play starts on Friday.
“We made some mistakes, but we know what we did and how we can fix them,” said third-year guard Marion Dietz. “We forced Catholic to play at our speed, which is something they were not comfortable doing, causing them to be out of sorts offensively.”
With the Hawks up 10-6 half-way through the first quarter, 3-pointers by fourth-year guard’s Taylor Howell and Rachel Simon and one by Dietz pushed New Paltz ahead, 19-6. After just 10 minutes of play at the end of the first, the Hawks had a 23-9 lead on the Cardinals.
Catholic came back into the competition in the second quarter, going 10-19 on the floor while also out-hustling the Hawks on the boards, resulting in eight second-chance points. A 3-pointer by Simon kept New Paltz ahead by 11 with two minutes left in the quarter, but a 6-0 run by the Cardinals brought them within five at 37-32 to end the half.
“One thing we keep stressing is that we need to get better at is everyone crashing for rebounds both defensively and offensively,” Dietz said.
Going into the third quarter, Catholic got within a point of the Hawks, at 37-36. Although they worked to keep New Paltz’s lead in the single digits, The Hawks built on their advantage and left the third quarter with a lead of 14 points.
New Paltz played very defensively going into the fourth quarter, and forced the Cardinals off the boards. Outscoring Catholic 21-8 in the quarter, the Hawks cruised to an easy 81-54 victory.
“It was a good, solid win,” said Hawks head coach Jamie Seward. “We got off to a strong start, but gave away a bunch of points in the second quarter on turnovers and offensive rebounds. In the second half we responded well though, and did some nice things on offense and defense to get solid efforts from a number of players.”
Simon led the Hawks in scoring with 21, while Dietz and third-year forward Paige Niemeyer had 13 points each. Fourth-year guard Lindsay Bettke had 11 points and Howell rounded out New Paltz’s leaderboard with 10.
“We still have several things we need to clean up defensively, but this group seems to really get it,” Seward said. “I’m pretty confident we’ll keep improving. They are so easy to coach, and they really hold one another accountable to such a high standard that all we as coaches have to do is coach basketball.”
The Hawks will be back on the court Friday, when they begin State University of New York Conference (SUNYAC) play against Plattsburgh State. The following day New Paltz will travel to SUNY Potsdam to play the Bears.