Geneseo, N.Y.- The Geneseo Knights were able to hold off the Oneonta Red Dragons 58-52 in a thriller at home, to seal the victory, earning its sixth State University of New York (SUNYAC) Championship in program history, its first since 2015 and third in 11 years under head coach Scott Hemer. With the win, Geneseo earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Regional Tournament next weekend.
Geneseo opened the game by drilling 3-for-4 from beyond-the-arc, but ultimately found itself trailing Oneonta 18-15 after the first quarter. After two years of losing the finals in close games in 2016 and 2017, the Knights were not going to let this one slip through their fingers as they fought there way back to lead the Red Dragons 29-25 going into halftime, while holding them to 3-of-15 shooting, after letting them shoot 50% from the field in the first quarter. Despite a strong push from Oneonta in the third that tied the game 41-41 at the end of the quarter, the crucial moment came down to single possesions in the final two minutes of play. The Red Dragons had a one-point lead over the Knights with 1:57 remaining in the game, but thanks to late heroics by Kelsey Poplawski, who led her team with 20 points, Geneseo scored the go-ahead layup with 1:01 remaining and did not look back enroute to winning the title. In a game that feaured 13 lead changes, this matchup was exciting until the end. The junior duo of Madeline Frank and Teresa Anken led Oneonta with 16 and 11 points respectively.
The SUNYAC Elite 20, an award modeled after the NCAA ELITE 90 program, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the conference championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. This year's women's basketball award winer is Oneonta's Alexa Amalbert.
After the game, the SUNYAC announced their all-tournament team, consisting of the top performing players of the tournament.
SUNYAC All-Tournament Team:
Buffalo State - Liv LeBaron
New Paltz - Amanda Skopetos
Oneonta - Leanne Corso
Oneonta - Teresa Anken
Geneseo - McKenna Brooks
Geneseo - Kelsey Poplawski (MVP)