Oneonta Knocks Off Buffalo State to Capture SUNYAC Crown, 50-41
BUFFALO, NY—Samantha Szkotak (New York Mills/New York Mills) had 20 points and 11 rebounds to lead third-seeded Oneonta (19-8) to a 50-41 victory over top-seeded Buffalo State (25-3) to claim the Red Dragons' third SUNYAC Championship and first since 2001 today at the Sports Arena.
Madison Slagle (Rome/Rome Catholic) bolstered the Red Dragons' attack with 10 points and 12 rebounds, and Kristin Pappalardo (Mahopac/Lakeland) chipped in 10 points.
Bianca Smiley (Amherst/Sweet Home) had 14 points and 12 rebounds to lead Buffalo State, hitting 10 of 16 from the free-throw line. Barb Kiliszek (Depew/Lancaster) had eight points and three steals, and Staci McElroy (Saratoga Springs/Saratoga Springs) added seven points and five boards.
Buffalo State opened the game with a 12-4 lead, but Oneonta used physical play inside to assemble a 10-0 run to take the lead. The Red Dragons went into the intermission with a 25-20 lead, outrebounding the Bengals 26-15 in the opening 20 minutes of play.
Oneonta pushed the lead to eight early in the second half, but Buffalo State battled back and evened the score at 36-36 with just over 10 minutes remaining. Oneonta used a 6-0 run from there, however, and never let the Bengals pull even again. The Red Dragons final six points came from the free-throw line to seal the win.
Oneonta finished the game with a 51-35 advantage on the glass, and shot 36-percent from the field. Buffalo State's 41 points were its lowest total of the season by 13. The Bengals shot a dismal 21-percent from the field and just 16-percent from beyond the arc.
Tournament MVP: Samantha Szkotak (Oneonta
All-Tournament Team: Kristin Pappalardo (Oneonta), Madison Slagle (Oneonta), Bianca Smiley (Buffalo State), Barb Kiliszek (Buffalo State), Alex McCullough (New Paltz)
Oneonta's title win also garnered the Red Dragons an automatic berth in the NCAA playoffs. Buffalo State will wait to see if it will earn an at-large bid. The NCAA selection show will air online on Monday at 2:30 p.m. to reveal the NCAA Division III tournament bracket.