SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – For the first time since 2009, the Union College women’s basketball team will be hosting a conference tournament game at home, as the fourth-seeded Dutchwomen take on fifth-seeded Rochester Institute of Technology in the first round of the Liberty League Tournament on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Viniar Athletic Center.
SPECTATOR POLICY: Union will be allowing spectators for Tuesday’s game. Consistent with Union College policies, all spectators ages 12 and up must provide proof of vaccination (at least two doses of Moderna or Pfizer or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine) and children ages 5-11 must show proof of having at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination. All spectators must be masked at all times inside campus facilities, including Viniar Athletic Center.
LIVE COVERAGE: For those who can’t make it to Schenectady for the game, live stats and live video will be available on UnionAthletics.com. Fans can also follow Union Athletics on Twitter and Instagram for coverage before, during and after the game.
AGAINST THE TIGERS: Union and RIT split the regular-season series between the two teams, with each squad winning on their home court. Led by a game-high 23 points from Emma Waite, the Tigers earned a 60-43 win in Rochester on January 14 by holding the Dutchwomen to 21.2 percent (14 of 66) shooting from the field. Union returned the favor on February 12, rolling to a 61-40 victory on Senior Day behind 23 points from senior Amber Raisner. RIT is 14-8 against Union since joining the Liberty League in 2011 and holds a 17-13 edge in the all-time series dating back to 1988.
POSTSEASON HISTORY: Union is making its second conference tournament appearance in the last three seasons, following up on a fifth-place finish in 2019-20 that saw the Dutchwomen fall to fourth-seeded William Smith College in the first round. The team has lost its last seven Liberty League Tournament games since a semifinal win over Skidmore College in 2008-09, and is 1-10 since capturing the program’s only title in the final year of the Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association (now Liberty League) in 2004.
HOME COOKIN’: Tuesday’s game is the first postseason game hosted by the Dutchwomen since 2008-09, when Union hosted the then-four-team Liberty League Tournament. Union defeated Skidmore in the semifinals before falling to St. Lawrence in the title game. While the sample size is not large, the Dutchwomen are 4-1 all-time in conference tournament games on their home court.
GOING STREAKING: The Dutchwomen enter the postseason riding a six-game winning streak, the longest for the program since a seven-game unbeaten streak during the 2010-11 campaign. The team’s six straight conference victories are the most in a row since ending the 2014-15 regular season with eight consecutive Liberty League wins. Union is averaging 66.5 points per game and limiting opponents to 46.5 points per game during the streak, while holding the opposition to 29.9 percent shooting (102 of 341) over that span.
DEFENSE FIRST: Union ranks second in the Liberty League by allowing 53.1 points per game. The Dutchwomen are 11-2 when holding the opposition to 33 percent shooting or worse from the field and are 10-1 when limiting opponents to 50 points or fewer.
RAISING THE BAR: Senior Amber Raisner enters the week as one of only 18 players in program history to average 10.0 points per game for a career (minimum 50 games). She is tied for 15th in school history with 56 three-pointers made and ranks ninth all-time at Union by shooting 31.6 percent from beyond the arc.
BLOCK PARTY: Junior Olivia Pachla leads the Liberty League with 50 blocks (2.1 blocks per game) in 24 contests this season. She is the only player in the conference with three games of five blocks or more, including a season-high six rejections against RPI on February 1. Only the fourth player in program history to record 50 or more blocks in a season, she currently ranks sixth on the school’s single-season list and has the most rejections ever by a player in their first year at Union.
LEE MAKING THE LEAP: Junior Megan Lee has scored in double figures in each of the last six games, coinciding with Union’s six-game winning streak. She averaged 18.0 points per game on 73.9 percent shooting in two wins last week and leads the team by shooting 48.0 percent from the field this season.
ABOUT THE TIGERS: RIT ranks seventh in the conference by averaging 57.5 points per game, while the team’s 59.4 points per game allowed is fifth among 10 Liberty League schools. Junior Kaleesha Joseph leads RIT and ranks fourth in the Liberty League by averaging 17.3 points per game on conference-best 53.7 percent shooting and also averages a team-leading 9.4 rebounds per contest, good for fifth in the conference. Sophomore Emma Waite averages 13.4 points per game and ranks fifth in the conference with 75 assists, while senior Alyssa Juergens chips in 8.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game as well as adding a team-best 30 blocks.
WHAT’S NEXT: The winner of Tuesday’s game will advance to the Liberty League Tournament semifinals on Saturday, where top-seed and host Ithaca College will be up next.
The complete postseason schedule is below:
Tuesday, February 22, 2022 – First Round
#5 RIT at #4 Union – 5:30 p.m.
#6 Skidmore at #3 St. Lawrence – 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 26, 2022 – Semifinals at Ithaca College
#4 Union/#5 RIT at #1 Ithaca – 2:00 p.m.
#3 St. Lawrence/#6 Skidmore vs. #2 Vassar – 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 27, 2022 – Finals at Ithaca College
Semifinal Winners – 2:00 p.m.