GENESEO, N.Y. - SUNY 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 on Saturday night at Schrader Gymnasium.
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.
Geneseo shot 27-for-56 (48.2%) from the floor, going 5-for-10 from behind the arc. The Knights pounded the ball into the lane, scoring 32 points in the paint and getting to the foul line to convert 19 of 26 attempts.
The Knights (28-1) move on to the NCAA Tournament Round of 16 for the second time in three years and the fourth time in program history. The team will take on host Ohio Northern (29-0), who earned tournament victories over Lakeland, 68-36, and Trine, 55-48, to qualify for the third round, on Friday, March 10, at a time to be determined.
Geneseo finished the first quarter on a 9-2 run to take a 21-11 lead after the initial frame. Brooks blocked consecutive layup attempts on Rochester's final offensive possession of the period to preserve the Knights' double-digit advantage.
Rochester battled back in the second quarter, outscoring the hosts 9-2 over the final 4:11 to gain ground as Geneseo clung to a 37-34 lead at halftime.
The Yellowjackets tied the game, 37-37, 37 seconds into the third period with a three-pointer but Geneseo responded with a 10-0 run over the next 3:20 to regain a double-digit lead, 47-37. The Knights led by as many as 16 points, but the visitors finished the frame on a 7-0 spurt to cut the deficit to 60-51.
Rochester hit back-to-back three-pointers to open the final frame, narrowing the Geneseo lead to 60-57 with 7:44 to go. However, that was as close as the visitors would draw as senior forward Bridgit Ryan spurred a 12-4 run for the Knights over the next 3:39, extending the lead to 72-61 with 3:05 to go. The Yellowjackets moved within six points, 72-66, on a three-pointer with 1:13 left, but Geneseo sank six of its eight free throws in the final minute to seal the victory.
Houppert's 23-point effort matches the highest single-game scoring output by a Geneseo player this season, set previously by Durand at Fredonia (Jan. 10). Houppert shot 9-for-13 on the night, tying the most made field goals by a Knight in NCAA Tournament history. 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.