Stingy Defense Sparks Women’s Hoops to Pair of Wins

Senior Brittany Hadley and the Keuka College women's basketball team earned a pair of NEAC wins over the weekend to remain in the hunt for a berth in the NEAC postseason tournament (photo courtesy of Megan Chase, Keuka College Sports Information department).
Senior Brittany Hadley and the Keuka College women's basketball team earned a pair of NEAC wins over the weekend to remain in the hunt for a berth in the NEAC postseason tournament (photo courtesy of Megan Chase, Keuka College Sports Information department).

The Keuka College women's basketball team picked up a pair of North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) victories over the weekend to improve their standing in the conference.

On Saturday, the Wolfpack limited Gallaudet (D.C.). University to 16 first-half points and 28.8 percent shooting from the floor (15 of 52) in recording a 52-42 triumph over the Bison.

On Sunday, 12 student-athletes scored as the Wolfpack (6-11, 5-7 NEAC) earned an 81-33 win over the Wilson (Pa.) College Phoenix in Chambersburg, Pa.

Keuka shot 46.2 percent from the floor (30 of 65) while limiting the Phoenix to 19.3 percent shooting (11 of 57).

"We have really been focusing on holding teams way below their scoring average," said Sarah Gaffney, Keuka's first-year head coach.

"We have been doing a great job in that regard as our student-athletes have really stepped it up on defense of late. Plus most of the student-athletes in the NEAC aren't all that strong with the ball in their left hand, so we're stressing no right-handed drives, make everyone go to their left to try and score. So far, it's working."

Senior Brittany Hadley (Jasper, N.Y./Jasper-Troupsburg) scored 19 points with 5 rebounds and 5 assists, and sophomore Katie Stuart (Tupper Lake, N.Y./Tupper Lake) added 17 points with six rebounds as the Green and Gold knocked off Gallaudet.

Hadley shot 80 percent from the floor (8 of 10) and connected on all three of her three-point shots, while Stuart shot 46.2 percent (6 of 13) in posting her seventh double-figure scoring game.

Freshman Meqala MacDonald (Scotia, N.Y./Scotia-Glenville) added six points with six rebounds, while senior Amanda Kubitz (Spencerport, N.Y./E.J. Wilson) had six rebounds with three steals, and classmate Erica Pendrak (New York Mills, N.Y./New York Mills) handed out a game-high five assists for Keuka.

The Green and Gold shot 45.7 percent from the floor (21 of 46), including 42.9 percent on three-pointers (6 of 14), while forcing Gallaudet (10-9, 9-6) into 21 turnovers. Keuka converted those turnovers into 21 points.

The Wolfpack trailed 4-0 and 9-4 early on, but went on a 13-0 run to seize control. Hadley scored eight points and Stuart added five during the spurt as Keuka led 17-9 on Hadley's triple with 11:54 remaining in the first half.

Leading 25-14, Hadley knocked down a '3', Stuart and McDonald each hit jumpers, and Kubitz added a lay-in as Keuka used a 9-2 run to take a 34-16 lead into halftime.

The lead grew to 36-16 on a jumper from Hadley 34 seconds into the second, and the Green and Gold led by at least seven points the rest of the way.

The Bison closed within 43-36 on a jumper from Zamica Gage (22 points) with 5:59 remaining, but Hadley and MacDonald each made layups and Hadley buried a jumper to finish off Gallaudet.

Taking on Wilson, Stuart recorded 14 points with six rebounds, Pendrak added 13 points, and junior Mackenzie Cole (Ogdensburg, N.Y./Ogdensburg Free Academy) added 11 points with five assists in the victory.

Kubitz added eight points with four rebounds against Wilson, while Hadley had seven points with five rebounds, sophomore Samantha Blum (Niskayuna, N.Y./Colonie) snared eight rebounds, and both McDonald and junior Meghan Ideman (Moravia, N.Y./Moravia) scored six points with five rebounds in the win.

An aggressive Keuka defense set a season-low for points allowed.

The Green and Gold trailed 6-2 after the first 3:42, but Keuka responded with a 43-3 run over the next 14 minutes and 42 seconds to pull away as the Wolfpack led 45-9 on a layup from Ideman with 1:36 remaining in the first.

The Wolfpack made seven '3s' during the run, led by Pendrak (three '3s'), Stuart (two) and Cole and Hadley (one apiece).

With the win, Keuka remains half a game back of Cazenovia College (8-12, 6-7) for third-place in the NEAC North division.

The top three teams from each division, along with the fourth-place squad that wins the crossover contest, advance into the NEAC postseason tournament, Feb. 28-March 1.