The Geneseo women's basketball team will be looking for a return trip to the NCAA playoffs this year, returning the top three scorers and rebounders from last season's 16-10 team. The Blue Knights placed fourth in the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) standings.
Senior guard Melissa Graham (Orchard Park/Mount Mercy) was a third-team all-SUNYAC selection last winter after leading Geneseo in scoring (10.2 ppg) and rebounding (7.2 rpg). Graham also topped the Blue Knights with 30 blocked shots and a.857 free throw-percentage. She ranked second on the team with 83 assists and 42 steals. Sophomore forward Shannon McGinnis (Walworth/Gananda), the first Blue Knight in 17 years to be named SUNYAC Rookie of the Year, was the team’s second-leading scorer (10.2 ppg) and pulled down 6.5 rpg. Rounding out Geneseo’s returning starters is junior forward Lea Sobieraski (Lockport/Lockport). The 6-0 forward averaged 9.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game last year while shooting 47.1 percent from the floor.
Sixth-year head coach Scott Hemer (St. Bonaventure ’95) has a fairly inexperienced roster behind the team’s three returning starters as only two other Blue Knights averaged more than 10 minutes per game. Those two veterans, both sophomores, will be counted on to play elevated roles this season: 6-2 forward Katie Peterson (Ithaca/Ithaca) averaged 5.0 points and 2.4 rebounds per game as a first year. She shot a team-high 47.7 percent from the floor; the post player is a top outside shooter as well, according to Hemer. Guard Cara Manfredi (South Glastonbury, Conn./Glastonbury) averaged 4.3 ppg as a rookie. Her 26 three-point baskets are the most of any returning player.
Rounding out the Blue Knight veterans are senior captain Nyisha Lewis (Rochester/Mercy), sophomore guard Biz Reinhardt (Rochester/Hilton) and sophomore forward Caileen Sennett (Webster/Aquinas). Reinhardt, the team’s best rebounding guard, should see time at all three backcourt positions this winter.
Geneseo’s incoming class includes six newcomers. Allison McKenna (Huntington/John Glenn), a 6-2 forward was the Long Island Player of the Year and one of just two selections to MSG’s all-metro team to be playing at a Division III program this year. Vanessa Wyckoff (Levittown/MacArthur) is a
6-1 forward who should provide a strong power presence inside.
Guards Dana Cohan (Rochester/Greece Athena) and Amelia Heiselman (Central Square/Bishop Grimes) should split time at the point guard with Reinhardt. Cohan, a playmaking guard with great vision, is Greece Athena’s career assists leader. Hemer calls Heiselman one of the best shooters Geneseo has had in years.
Paige Hill (Pittsford/Mendon) is an athletic and aggressive backcourt player who’ll see time at the two and three-guard spots. Hemer describes her as an inside and outside threat. Guard Jenna Phillips (Angola/Eden) is another athletic addition to the Blue Knight backcourt.
Geneseo opens its season Saturday, Nov. 17, facing Westminster at WoosNan Nichols Classic.