SUNY New Paltz Hawks Win Second-Straight

By Monica D’Ippolito

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The State University of New York at New Paltz women’s basketball team traveled down to Washington D.C. Sunday and earned a convincing 81-54 win over hosting Catholic University to earn its second-straight victory.

The Hawks (2-1), who came off a 92-81 road win against Vassar College Nov. 13, forced the Cardinals (3-1) to play more of their style, pushing the ball up the floor in a fast-paced game. Catholic struggled to keep up with SUNY New Paltz, scoring just nine points in the first quarter, allowing the Hawks to pull ahead to take a 23-9 advantage after the first 10 minutes.

“We were able to dictate the terms of the game and forced them to play smaller than they usually do, which was to our benefit,” said SUNY New Paltz coach Jamie Seward. “Even though we only forced 18 turnovers, I think we got them to play faster than they are used to.”

The Cardinals worked themselves back in the second quarter, making 10-of-19 from the floor, while collecting six offensive boards that resulted in eight second-chance points. A 6-0 run to finish out the half cut the Hawks’ lead to five at the break.

Catholic made a mini-run to start the third quarter, cutting the score, 37-36, with 8:30 remaining in the period, but a bucket by Rachel Simon about two minutes later brought SUNY New Paltz’s cushion back to three, which then slowly started a 7-3 run. Although the Cardinals worked to keep the game within single digits, the Hawks continued building upon its advantage and went into the fourth touting a 14-point lead.

SUNY New Paltz’s defense tightened as the game went on, forcing Catholic into tough shots to hold the opposition to just nine baskets for 26.5 percent shooting from the field in the last 20 minutes, including 0-12 from 3-point range.

Meanwhile, the Hawks continued to push the ball and got virtually everyone on the court involved offensively. Nine players scored at least a basket for SUNY New Paltz, while five were in double figures to help with the 27-point victory.

“It was a good, solid win,” Seward said. “We got off to a strong start, but gave away a bunch of points in the second quarter on turnovers and offensive rebounds. In the second half we responded well though and did some nice things on offense and defense, and got solid efforts from a number of players.”

Simon led the Hawks with 21 points — 19 of which came in the first half — while adding four rebounds, two assists and a steal to her stat line. Taylor Howell had a productive game off the bench, contributing all over the floor. The senior guard ended the night with 10 points, seven boards, two steals and a team-high nine assists. Paige Niemeyer contributed with 13 points, seven rebounds and a steal in 18 minutes off the bench, while Marion Dietz also recorded 13 points with five rebounds, three assists and one steal.

The Hawks are back on the road Wednesday, taking on Division I Stony Brook University at Island Federal Credit Union Arena at 7 p.m., before starting conference play Friday and Saturday against Plattsburgh State and SUNY Potsdam, respectively.

“We still have several things we need to clean up defensively, but this group seems to really get it so I’m pretty confident we’ll keep improving,” Seward said. “Great test and opportunity for us on Wednesday, and hopefully that will put us in a good position heading into conference play this weekend.”

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