Women's Basketball Set For NCAA Tournament 3rd Round At Ohio Northern


GENESEO, N.Y - SUNY Geneseo takes on Ohio Northern in the third round of the 2017 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament, Friday at 7:30 p.m. After a first round win over Muhlenberg, 65-53, the host Knights earned a victory over Rochester, 78-72, to advance to their second "Sweet 16" in the past three years. The Polar Bears earned a first round victory over Lakeland, 68-36, and then knocked off Trine, 55-48, to advance to the third round.

Geneseo senior guard Kara Houppert scored a career-high 23 points to lift the Knights to a 78-72 victory over visiting Rochester in the second round of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament. Houppert added five rebounds and a team-high five assists while senior guards Katie Durand and Kayleigh Cavanaugh added 13 points and 11 points, respectively. Sophomore forward McKenna Brooks scored nine points and added a team-high three steals and two blocks. The team also set a program record for single-season wins, topping the 1992-93 team (27-1) that advanced to the NCAA Tournament Regional Finals.

Geneseo holds a 13-8 record in nine appearances in the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. The host Knights overcame a nine-point halftime deficit to earn a comeback victory over Muhlenberg, 65-53, in the NCAA Tournament First Round and earned a victory over Rochester in the second round, 78-72, to set the program mark for wins in a season (28). The team has advanced as far as the sectional finals on two occasions, falling to Salem State, 76-65, in 1995, and to Scranton, 79-70, in 1993. Geneseo has reached the Round of 16 three times prior, with wins in 1993 (Moravian, 80-57) and 1995 (Wheaton [Mass.], 69-66) and a loss to FDU-Florham in 2015 (68-54).

Head coach Scott Hemer was named the SUNYAC Women's Basketball Coach of the Year for the third-straight season after guiding the Knights to an undefeated regular season, their fifth-consecutive SUNYAC Championship game and third-straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Honored for the fourth time overall, Hemer enters the weekend with a 191-85 mark at the helm. He led the Knights to their sixth 20-win season in the last seven years while four players - senior guards Kara Houppert and Katie Durand, senior forward Bridgit Ryan and sophomore forward McKenna Brooks - received SUNYAC All-Conference honors.

Geneseo boasts one of the nation's top defensive units, ranked among Division III's best teams in several categories. The Knights rank sixth in scoring defense, allowing 47.6 points per game and 18th in defensive field-goal percentage, holding opponents to 32.7% shooting.

Geneseo has been one of the best teams in the nation at minimizing mistakes, taking care of the basketball and rarely giving opponents opportunities from the foul line. The Knights rank fifth in the nation in fewest turnovers per game (12.7) and sit third in fewest personal fouls committed per game (11.5). In two NCAA Tournament games Geneseo has only been whistled for 21 fouls and committed just 15 turnovers.

Geneseo has earned at least 20 wins in each of the last five seasons and six of its last seven. Since the 2012-13 season, Geneseo has posted a 115-28 record and an .804 winning percentage. The current streak of 20-win seasons is the second-longest in program history (1991-99).

Senior guard Kara Houppert was named a First-Team All-SUNYAC selection last week. Averaging 8.9 points per game with 4.3 rebounds per game and 3.4 assists per game, she leads the conference with a program record three-point shooting percentage (44.3) and ranks second in the SUNYAC in assists (101). Houppert scored a career-high 23 points in the Knights' second round victory over Rochester, the seventh-highest scoring total by a Knight in NCAA Tournament play, shooting 9-for-13 from the floor.

Sophomore forward McKenna Brooks was named Second Team All-SUNYAC due in large part to her late-season scoring surge. Brooks averaged 4.8 points per game in November and December but has averaged 10.6 points in 21 games since then. The forward ranks second in the SUNYAC in field goal percentage (47.4), fifth in steals (52), second in made free throws (93) and second in offensive rebounds (89). She netted 16 points, including 10-of-11 free throws, nine rebounds and three blocks in the first round win over Muhlenberg and followed that up with nine points, three blocks and two steals against Rochester.

The Geneseo starting lineup is made up of five seniors with each one making her third NCAA Tournament appearance. Seniors Kara Houppert, Katie Durand, Kayleigh Cavanaugh, Bridgit Ryan and Katie Vienneau have all played in seven NCAA Tournament games, posting a 5-2 record over the past three seasons. One of the most experienced teams in the NCAA Tournament, the group has accumulated a total of 489 games played and 266 career starts.

Geneseo finished the regular season with a 3-1 record against teams that made the 64-team NCAA Tournament field. The Knights posted a 2-1 record against SUNYAC foe New Paltz and earned an overtime victory over Empire 8 champion RIT, 62-60 (Jan. 17). Senior guard Katie Durand scored a team-high 15 against RIT while sophomore forward McKenna Brooks hit a buzzer-beating putback in overtime to win it. The Knights earned regular season wins over New Paltz at home, 66-47 (Dec. 2) and on the road, 56-39, (Feb. 11), but fell to the visiting Hawks in the SUNYAC Finals, 58-57. RIT fell in the opening round to Ithaca, 65-62, while New Paltz moved past Bowdoin, 62-61, in the first round and host Ithaca, 83-80, in the second round to advance to the "Sweet 16."

- Advance the team to its third regional final and first since 1995
- Extend the program record for single-season wins to 29
- Improve the team's record to 6-3 all-time in games played in the state of Ohio

Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) Champion Ohio Northern (29-0) hosts the third and fourth rounds of the NCAA Tournament and will face Geneseo on Friday night. Senior guard Britt Lauck, who was named OAC Player of the Year, averages 14.3 points per game to lead the team while junior forward Amy Bullimore (13.6 ppg, 8.0 rpg) was tabbed a first team OAC All-Star. Ohio Northern did not face a ranked opponent or a tournament-qualifying opponent during the regular season, but defeated Lakeland in the first round, 68-36, and edged No. 15 Trine in the second round, 55-48. Making their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in five years, the host Polar Bears finished 18-0 in OAC play en route to the program's first undefeated regular season. The team advanced past Lakeland, 68-36, in the first round and earned a victory over Trine, 55-48, in the second round.