March 8th, 2017
SUNY NP Hawks Head to NCAA Sweet Sixteen
The SUNY New Paltz Hawks defeated the Bombers, 83-80, in the Ben Light Gymnasium on Saturday evening.
By Colleen Gonzalez
ITHACA – Despite falling to the host Ithaca College in the regular season, the State University of New York at New Paltz women’s basketball team exacted its revenge in the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament as the Hawks defeated the Bombers, 83-80, in the Ben Light Gymnasium on Saturday evening.
“The way we played is completely different from last time,” said senior guard/forward Morgan Roessler. “The way we defended is different and the way we move the ball around is completely different so I do not think they were ready for that at all and that is what got them.”
“We never questioned the talent that we have on this team,” said head coach Jamie Seward. “We made some adjustments to what we did defensively and we added some things offensively that really became our bread and butter but really they just kept with what we were doing ... and they kept getting better.”
For the first time in program history, the Hawks (20-8) move on to the Round of 16 and will be back in action on Friday, March 10 when they face the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.
From the onset, both squads came out fighting for the lead with New Paltz taking control of the score off of a 4-2 run (11-6) with 7:03 remaining in the opening period. Ithaca battled its way to tie the game at 11-all before a back-and-forth rally ensued for the advantage, which would ultimately land in favor of New Paltz heading into the second quarter (24-21).
The Hawks extended their lead early in the second stanza off of a 7-0 burst and managed to stay ahead until the Bombers tied it at 33-all at the 3:55 mark. However New Paltz put the offensive pressure on high as the Hawks went on a 12-2 run to end the first half with a 45-35 edge.
The third quarter saw New Paltz continue to hold the advantage over the Bombers, extending their lead by 13 (69-56) heading into the fourth period, but Ithaca would soon find its stride and sliced the deficit to one (75-74) with 4:11 remaining before leveling the score to 80-all as the clock signaled 1:35. Roessler broke the tie with a 3-point shot moments later and despite Ithaca’s best efforts to send the game into overtime, the Bombers could not connect on several shots as time expired on the final 83-80 tally, sending New Paltz to its first Sweet Sixteen playoff.
Both teams were even in field goal percentage (50.0 percent) but New Paltz held the advantage in 3-point shooting, connecting on 9-of-15 shots (60.0 percent), and free throw percentage (83.3 percent), converting 20-of-24 shots. The Hawks also converted 16 points off turnovers, totaled 31 bench points and 12 second chance points but Ithaca (24-5) held a 39-29 margin in rebounds.
Three New Paltz student-athletes notched double-figure points in the victory with sophomore guard Lindsay Bettke leading the way with a career-high 26 points, shooting 11-of-20 from the floor and converting 4-of-8 shots from the 3-point range. Roessler recorded a career-high 25 points off the bench, scoring 18 within the first half, while going 7-of-14 from the field and 9-of-9 from the line, and totaled a team-high seven boards while senior guard Kit Small notched 18 points, converting 9-of-10 shots from the charity stripe and distributing four assists.
Ithaca had four different players record double-figure points in the loss. Erin Ferguson posted a double-double 24 points and 11 boards for the Bombers while Ali Ricchiuti posted 23 points and dished out four assists. Julie Yacovoni added 15 points and Jordan Beers chipped in 14 points of her own.