New Paltz women’s basketball team achieved its first-ever State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) title in 2013, which also gave the Hawks their first-ever bid into the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament. New Paltz went 24-4 overall in 2012-13, which included a 16-2 mark in league play, and it earned the top seed into the 2013 SUNYAC Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament.
“It’s a great accomplishment all around,” said forward Alex McCullough ’13. “We had set personal goals and team goals, and we accomplished almost all of them. I’m very proud of the team and all that we accomplished. Going to the NCAA Tournament was a great experience.”
The season began in Manhattan from Nov. 16-17, where New Paltz topped Hartwick College and New York University to capture the NYU Tournament championship. The Hawks carried that momentum through the rest of the 2012 calendar year, as they entered the Intercession break with a 9-0 record. New Paltz built its record up to 15-0 before it suffered its first loss of the season to SUNY Geneseo on Jan. 25. A loss to Western Connecticut State University four days later helped New Paltz prepare for its stretch run through its SUNYAC slate, and it lost just one more game the rest of the regular season.
Pitted against SUNY Plattsburgh in the semifinal round of the SUNYAC Tournament, the Hawks gained separation late, and they wound up winning by a 63-59 final. New Paltz found itself matched up with Geneseo in the championship game, setting up a rubber match between the two teams. The Hawks never trailed in the contest, as they cruised to a 64-53 victory. In the first round of the NCAA Tournament on March 1, New Paltz faced a tough test in No. 16 Babson College, falling to the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) champions by a 61-45 final.
New Paltz gained a handful of postseason accolades from the SUNYAC, which included Head Coach Jamie Seward’s first-ever SUNYAC Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year honor. McCullough and senior guard Maliqua Fisher ’13 earned All-SUNYAC recognition, gaining First-Team and Second-Team All-SUNYAC, respectively. Fisher was named the SUNYAC Tournament MVP, while McCullough and freshman forward Michelle Valle ’16 joined her on the All-Tournament Team.