Lady Cougars Finish Strong at Nationals

The Genesee Lady Cougars, WNYAC and Region III champions, completed a successful season with a strong performance at the National Tournament last week in East Peoria, IL to finish their season 24-6. The No. 7 Lady Cougars opened the National Tournament with a victory over No. 10 MCC Penn Valley (Missouri) and played No. 2 Kankakee (Illinois) in the second round. After a hard fought game, the Lady Cougars fell just short to Kankakee, losing by four. In their final game, the Lady Cougars jumped out to a six point halftime lead over Johnson County (Kansas), before Johnson County took over the second half, eliminating the Lady Cougars from the tournament.

First Round – No. 7 Genesee 78 – No. 10 MCC Penn Valley 69
In the opening round game, sophomore captain Quiana Holman (Bronx, NY) had the hot hand early for the Lady Cougars, scoring 14 of her team-high 19 points in the first half, as they jumped out to a 15 point first half lead. In the second half, the Lady Cougars pulled away, leading by as much as 25 points, as five players finished in double figures. Kate Stresing (Elba, NY) played the entire game, scoring 13 points, while collecting eight rebounds. Erica Austin (Utica, NY) finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, Ariel Smith (Wallkill, NY) finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, and Brittany McCray (Lyons, NY) finished with 11 points and nine rebounds.

Second Round – No. 7 Genesee 51 – No. 2 Kankakee 55
The second round game turned out to be an exciting game, as both the Lady Cougars and the Lady Cavaliers played outstanding defense, holding each other to season lows in scoring. In the first half, both teams traded several lead changes before Kankakee lead at the break 28-25. Kankakee came out strong in the second half, building their lead to eight before the Lady Cougars used a 15-7 run to tie the game at 49 with 1:30 left in the game, following a McCray layup. On the next possession however, Casey Siddens hit an open jump shot at the foul line to put the Lady Cavaliers up by two and the Lady Cougars would never rebound.

Smith led all scorers with 20 points and also added six rebounds and five assists. McCray finished the game with 13 points.

Consolation Round – No. 7 Genesee 65 – No. 3 Johnson County 81
Following a tough, emotional loss to Kankakee, the Lady Cougars started their third game slowly, falling behind early 13-2. After a time out, sophomore captain Latoya Anderson (Bronx, NY) took the game over, scoring 11 of her 16 points in the first half and changing the momentum of the game, as the Lady Cougars led 39-33 at the break. However, in the second half, the Lady Cavaliers shot 51.4% from the floor, including seven three-point shots, as they outscored the Lady Cougars 48-26.

Smith finished the game with 16 points and McCray had 14 points and 11 rebounds in the losing effort.

Following the championship game on Saturday, Ariel Smith was honored as a member of the All-Tournament team. Smith finished the national tournament with 16ppg.

Coach Corinne Pellegrini was also honored, as she was named District C Coach of the Year.