ONEONTA – The State University of New York at New Paltz women’s basketball team, looking to throw a wrench into the conference playoff picture, gave host SUNY Oneonta a dose of upset-minded basketball, but couldn’t sustain its momentum down the stretch, falling to the Red Dragons, 53-46 on Friday night at Dewar Arena.
The Hawks jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead, but Oneonta fought back from a 37-31 deficit and went on a 22-9 run from that time to register an important victory in the conference seeding scenario.
With the loss, the Hawks drop to 5-18, 3-13 in the SUNYAC. Oneonta improves to 17-6, 11-5. New Paltz is back in action next Friday, Feb. 21 with a 6 p.m. road game versus The College at Brockport. On Feb. 21, Oneonta travels to SUNY Geneseo for a 6 p.m. game.
After freshman forward Courtney Irby made a jumper to provide New Paltz with a 37-31 lead, the Hawks went without a field goal for the next 10:27, at which time Oneonta rallied and then boosted its lead to 53-43 with 17 seconds remaining. A 3-pointer from junior guard Shannan Walker with five seconds left broke the field goal scoring drought, but up until that point, New Paltz had garnered six of its final nine points off free throws.
During its 22-9 spurt, the Red Dragons shot 5-for-11 from the field and 12-for-16 from the free throw line. Senior guard Alyshia Crawford and sophomore guard Lyteshia Price keyed the effort with seven and six points respectively.
Behind a 10-point first half on 4-for-6 shooting from freshman forward Kit Small, the Hawks played a masterful first half, leading 24-21 at intermission and building a 35-28 lead – the biggest of the game – after Walker converted two technical foul free throws and a made jumper with 12:27 to play.
Oneonta chipped away at the New Paltz lead and tied the game 37-37 on a Price jumper with 9:01 to play. The Red Dragons took their first lead since 19-18 at 41-39 with seven minutes remaining, but New Paltz sophomore guard Goldie Harrison knotted the game 41-41 with 6:39 to play. Unfortunately, the Hawks managed only two free throws from Small and Walker’s three-pointer from that point on.