GENESEO, N.Y. - SUNY Geneseo senior guard Katie Durand and first-year guard Sara Ciotti each scored 11 points to lead the top-seeded Knights to a 63-43 victory over fourth seed Cortland in the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Tournament Semifinals on Friday night at Schrader Gym.
Geneseo advances to its fifth-consecutive SUNYAC final and its 12th in program history. The Knights (26-0) will face second-seeded New Paltz in the championship game on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. in a rematch of last season's title bout.
The Knights shot 55.8% (24-for-43) from the floor while holding their opponent to 39.0% (16-for-41) shooting and recording 13 steals, the team's third-highest total of the season.
The Red Dragons opened the game on a 5-0 run, holding Geneseo scoreless over the first 4:42 of the game, but the Knights answered with nine straight points, capped by a put-back by senior forward Bridgit Ryan to make it 9-5 with 2:56 remaining. Ryan hit a three with 28 seconds remaining in the quarter as the Knights led 14-10 after the initial frame.
Geneseo began the second quarter on a 7-0 run with Ciotti and Durand netting back-to-back buckets followed by a three-pointer from senior guard Kayleigh Cavanaugh that made it 21-10 with 8:23 to go. The Knights led by as many as 17 points in the first half but Cortland cut into the deficit with a 7-2 run over the final three minutes as the hosts entered the locker room leading 32-20.
Durand scored the Knights' first five points out of the locker room, hitting a jumper on the team's first offensive posession and finishing a three-point play in transition that made it 37-20 under a minute into the third. Brooks hit a pair of free throws with 5:09 on the clock to cap a 12-2 run, giving Geneseo a 44-22 lead. The Knights led by as many as 25 points in the third, but back-to-back threes by the Red Dragons made it 50-31 entering the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, senior guard Kara Houppert and Ciotti netted back-to-back three-pointers to make it 56-31 with 7:06 left as Geneseo held the visitors scoreless through the first 3:29 of the final frame. Cortland mounted an 11-4 run over the next 4:30, drawing to within 19 points, but came no closer as the Knights held on for the victory.
Geneseo swept New Paltz during the regular season, but have not beaten the Hawks in postseason play (0-2) falling in the 2016 and 2013 conference championship games.