GENESEO, N.Y. - SUNY Geneseo first-year guard Lindsay Halpin finished with 17 points, five rebounds and five assists as the Knights held off New Paltz for a 63-57 victory in the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) semifinals on Friday night at Schrader Gymnasium.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Geneseo (24-2) never trailed, taking an early 12-5 lead behind five points by first-year guard Natalie Alfieri. Sophomore guards Natalie DiSalvo and Sara Ciotti hit back-to-back triples to balloon the Knights' advantage to 18-5, but New Paltz (17-10) answered with five-straight points. Junior forward McKenna Brooks finished a jumper in the lane to give the hosts a 20-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.
- The Hawks opened the second quarter on a 12-3 run to cut into the Geneseo lead, but the Knights responded with six-straight points to regain a 29-22 advantage with 3:50 to play. Halpin sank a pair of free throws to cap the scoring as the Knights entered the halftime break with a 32-26 edge.
- In the third quarter Geneseo opened up a 13-point lead with a 7-2 run, but the Hawks cut the score down to 46-39 with 3:26 remaining in the period. Junior forward Nicole Kaczmarczyk pulled down an offensive rebound and finished a layup in the final seconds to cap a 5-0 run as Geneseo took a 51-39 lead into the final period.
- In the fourth quarter, the two teams traded blows before the Hawks drilled back-to-back three-pointers with 2:44 left to cut the lead to six points. After a layup by Brooks, the Hawks hit another triple to make the score 59-54 with 1:01 to play. New Paltz drew to within four points with 44 seconds left, but Halpin hit a pair of free throws in the final moments as the Geneseo defense held the Hawks to secure the win.
- Geneseo advances to its sixth-straight conference championship game, improving to 13-9 all-time in the semifinal round of the SUNYAC Tournament.
- The win marks the Knights' first over New Paltz in the conference tournament out of five meetings. Geneseo fell to the Hawks in the 2017 finals, the 2016 finals, the 2013 finals and the 2007 first round.
- Brooks netted 13 points and pulled nine rebounds while first-year guard Natalie Alfieri and junior guard Kelsey Poplawski each scored 10 points.
- The Knights seek their sixth conference championship in program history and their first since 2015.
Top-seeded Geneseo will host second-seeded Oneonta in the SUNYAC Championship game on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. with the winner receiving an automatic-qualifying bid to the NCAA Tournament.