On Monday, it was announced that UR Women’s Basketball (URWB) had received a bid into this year’s NCAA tournament, despite considerable uncertainty over whether it would make it.
But the team’s hopes were dashed by the slimmest margins on Friday, when the Yellowjackets lost 78–72 to host team SUNY Geneseo in the second round after a first-round win over Keene State College.
Despite tying the game at 37–37 at the beginning of the third quarter, the Yellowjackets were defeated by the Knights, who advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.
After one quarter of play in the first round game, the Yellowjackets (18–9) led the Owls (21–8) by three points, and by four at the half, by a score of 27–23. In an offensive surge in the third quarter, junior forward Al Leslie made back-to-back jump shots, freshman guard Lauren Foley sunk two free throws, and senior guard Sarah Kaminsky’s three-point shot found the basket.
Foley, who had eight points on the night, then made a layup to seal the 11–0 run. UR led Keene State 49–38 at the start of the fourth quarter and maintained their lead to pull off an impressive 67–55 first round win.
After being selected as the first ever UR women’s player in history to be a finalist for the Josten’s Trophy, and being named to the UAA first team earlier in the week, junior forward Al Leslie scored a team-high 16 points against Keene State on Friday. Junior guard Lauren Deming had 14 points and also received UAA honors, named to the second team. Sophomore guard Lena Ethington had her first career double-double, with 10 points and 10 rebounds against the Owls.
On Saturday, UR faced the top-ranked team in the NCAA Division III East region, SUNY Geneseo, for a spot in the Sweet Sixteen. The host Knights (28–1) focused on keeping the ball away from UR’s top scorer, Leslie, who did not score until the eighth minute.
At the end of the first quarter, UR trailed 21–11, but fought to come back in the second quarter after Deming, Kaminsky, Foley, and junior guard Lizzy Atkinson each hit three-pointers. Leslie followed with five points, which included a 14-footer in the paint. At halftime, the Knights still topped UR, but by a smaller margin with a score of 37–34.
UR opened the third quarter by tying the game at 37–37 after Kaminsky hit a three-pointer. A 10–0 run from Geneseo during the third quarter contributed to the Knight’s 58 points going into the fourth quarter, which had their home crowd of 700 on their feet.
UR responded in the fourth quarter, with freshman guard Brenna James hitting a three-point shot from the left corner and Kaminsky sinking one from the opposite corner. The score was 60–57 when Geneseo’s Bridgit Ryan sunk a 12-footer from the right baseline, with Leslie answering with a layup. Geneseo then went on a 10–2 to make the score 72–61, with 2:57 remaining in the game.
In the game’s final minutes, Atkinson made a 19-footer off the left baseline, with Kaminsky hitting another three-pointer, but, in the end, the Knights prevailed.
The team’s win against Keene State was Coach Jim Scheible’s 25th at UR, who has taken the Yellowjackets to the tournament 11 times. Leslie is now the single-season record-holder in free throws made in one season with 134, and remains third in all-time career scoring.