GENESEO, N.Y. - The SUNY Geneseo women's basketball team begins their quest for a second-consecutive State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) title on Thursday, November 8 when they travel to face Hilbert. Here are six things you need to know about the Knights for the 2018-19 season:
1. TAKING THE REINS
After a successful 11-year run under former head coach Scott Hemer, the Knights turn over the reins of the program to Alyssa Polosky '11. The former Knights' All-American was appointed the eighth coach in the program's 45-year history after serving as an assistant coach with the program for seven seasons. In seven seasons as an assistant coach, Polosky helped the team to six 20-win seasons, including a program record 28-2 mark in 2016-17, two SUNYAC Championships and a pair of trips to the "Sweet 16" in four total NCAA Tournament appearances.
2. THE GANG'S ALL HERE
The Knights return each of their top 10 scorers from last season, led by Preseason D3hoops All-American senior forward McKenna Brooks. Brooks led the SUNYAC in shooting percentage (50.4) and steals per game (2.4) while ranking fifth in rebounds per game (7.9) and eighth in scoring (12.0) a year ago. She finished the season with eight double-doubles as well. Sophomore guards Lindsay Halpin and Natalie Alfieri along with senior guard Kelsey Poplawski each averaged more than 9.0 points per game last season and join Brooks and senior forward Alyssa Lesakowski as returning starters from last season. Junior guards Sara Ciotti, Natalie DiSalvo and Madison McCulley, senior forward Nicole Kazmarczyk and sophomore forward Kerrin Montogomery each averaged at least 10,0 minutes per game last year as the Knights return significant depth as well.
3. DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Geneseo ranked first in the SUNYAC and 21st in the nation in scoring defense, allowing opponents just 51.3 points per game. The squad also ranked first in the league in steals per game (9.8) while committing just 12.5 personal fouls per game, sixth fewest in the country. The Knights held opponents to 40 points or fewer on seven occasions and allowed more than 60 points just four times.
4. PROTECT OUR HOUSE
Since the beginning of the 2014-15 season, the Knights have gone 50-3 in games played at Schrader Gymnasium, including a perfect 14-0 mark last season. Geneseo has not lost a regular season home game since Feb. 5, 2016, winning each of their last 26 regular season contests in Schrader. The Knights score more at home as well, last year averaging 72.4 points per game at home while scoring 64.3 points per game on the road.
5. MCKENNA SHE DO IT AGAIN?
Brooks seeks to become the eighth women's basketball player in conference history to repeat as SUNYAC Player of the Year after winning the award last season. Averaging 12.0 points and 7.9 rebounds per game last season, Brooks would become just the second Geneseo Knight to ever repeat as SUNYAC Player of the Year (Katie Smith, 1994, 1995). She will have her hands full however, as six of the SUNYAC's top 10 scorers from last season return in 2018-19.
6. OH THE PLACES YOU'LL GO
Geneseo will play seven of its first 10 games on the road to begin the season. The Knights open on Thursday at Hilbert and then host William Smith on Saturday, Nov. 10 in their home opener before traveling to York, Pa. to face Lycoming in the York College Coaches vs. Cancer Classic on Friday, November 16. The Knights travel to regional rivals Morrisville (Nov. 20) and Alfred (Nov. 27) before opening conference play at Oswego (Nov. 30) and Cortland (Dec. 1). Geneseo will host RIT on January 15 and closes out its schedule with six of its last seven games at home against conference opponents.