OSWEGO — The Oswego State women’s basketball team will begin its season today at Hilbert College.

The Lakers, who went 2-23 last season, will be looking for their first winning season since the 2012-13 season. The team went 18-9 overall and 11-7 in the SUNY Athletic Conference during that campaign.

Oswego State did have some close matchups throughout the 2018-19 season. Some of those losses included a 56-53 loss to Geneseo in the Lakers’ last regular-season game; a 70-69 overtime loss to Potsdam; and an 83-76 double-overtime loss to Plattsburgh State the next day.

The Lakers return two of their top-five scorers from last season, including junior Raiven Encarnacion, who led the team with 266 points (10.6 per game) last season. Ramatoulaye Sy was right behind with 242 points (10.5 PPG).

Even with Encarnacion and Sy’s presence, Oswego State head coach Sean Pinkerton mentioned that his senior class of Erin Gantley, Quincey Zimmerman, Morgan Wolanin and Tatyana Fish are looked at to lead the team this season.

“(Sy) and Encarnacion are both very talented and will take on some leadership responsibilities,” he said. “But that responsibility will primarily fall on Erin, Quincey, Morgan and Tatyana as seniors.”

Oswego State also brought in some transfers, including Sydni Eure from Onondaga Community College, who led the team with 557 points last season. She was 15th in NJCAA Division III for points, and tied for 10th for free throws made with 114.

Taylor Torchia from Mohawk Valley Community College and Sierra Fleming from Jefferson Community College also transferred to the Lakers. Torchia scored 123 points her freshman year before MVCC’s team was suspended the following year for a self-reported NJCAA violation. During Fleming’s freshman year at JCC, she recorded 429 points, ranking 43rd in the nation for NJCAA Division III.

“We have seven returners and seven new student-athletes with a mix of freshmen and transfers,” Pinkerton said. “Our new players have done a great job elevating the level of competition at practice and several are expected to play very significant minutes this year.”

Rachael Windhausen, one of the team’s top scorers (8.9 PPG) and leader in blocks (41), left the team due to graduation. Sarah Feminella and Amanda Altes also graduated. Logan Castiglione and Megan Steinman, both freshmen last season, left the program as well.

“Rachael and Sarah are definitely missed, but we’re a very different team this year,” Pinkerton said. “I’m happy with the work of our returners did during the offseason to make necessary improvements.”

Joining the program this year is assistant coach Audra Clark, who was a guard at St. Catherine University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Pinkerton used to be the head coach for the Wildcats from 2012-2017, before joining Oswego State.

Clark earned honors from the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference four times while at St. Catherine. She graduated as St. Catherine’s all-time leader in career points and assists, and third in career steals.

While Oswego State’s season begins today, it won’t start SUNY Athletic Conference play until Dec. 6, when it faces Brockport on the road.

The Lakers will also be hosting the Max Ziel Tournament Nov. 15-16, with the University of Wisconsin-Superior, Clarkson University and Morrisville State all participating.

As the team looks to improve on last season, the mindset is simple for Pinkerton and his team.

“(I want) to approach every day with great effort and enthusiasm and consistently get better,” he said. 

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