Junior Danielle McNabb hit a game winning three pointer with 3.3 seconds to lead the University of Rochester to a thrilling 60-58 victory over SUNY Geneseo in the championship game of the 20th Wendy’s College Classic.
Down by as many as 15 points in the first half, UR came all the way back to its eighth straight Wendy’s championship. The win was the team’s 23rd straight victory in the tournament. Geneseo was searching for its first ever title in the classic.
Rochester (5-1) took its first lead of the game with seven minutes remaining after some rough shooting during the first 30 minutes of the game. A Blair Landolfi 3-pointer gave the Yellowjackets a 50-47 lead. The biggest the UR lead got was six at 54-48 with 5:40 remaining.
With 1:36 left in the game, two Melissa Graham free throws cut the Yellowjacket lead to just two. Graham then gave the Blue Knights (4-1) a 60-59 lead after a huge three from the left wing with just 55 seconds remaining.
A UR turnover and a Geneseo miss then set the stage for UR to try and win the game with just 10 seconds remaining. They ran an inbounds play and sophomore Ally Zywicki found McNabb in the right corner and she drained the shot to give the Yellowjackets a two point lead at 60-58. The ensuing inbounds pass for the Blue Knights was stolen by Zywicki to seal the win.
Geneseo got things started with a quick layup right off the tip, starting a burst that the made the lead 7-2 after the opening two minutes. Shannon McGinnis who scored the layup provided 10 of the Blue Knights first 13 points.
Rochester was cold from the floor out of the gate, only making three of its first 13 shots during the first 10 minutes of the game. The Blue Knights were 7-14 during that span and held an 18-9 lead.
The strong shooting continued for Geneseo and included five 3-pointers which led to a doubling up of the home Yellowjackets at 30-15 with 4:06 left in the half.
A Paige Aleski 3-pointer then jumpstarted UR for the last four minutes and sparked an 11-3 run to close the half. Breanna Madrazo nailed six free throws during the stretch and UR shrunk the lead to seven at the break, 33-26 in favor of the Blue Knights.
In the first 20 minutes, UR was shooting just 27% (8-30) and 2-11 from long range while the Blue Knights were shooting 52% (13-25) and made a total of six from behind the arc. Strong Geneseo defense turned the Yellowjackets over 11 times in the session and led to multiple transition baskets.
It was more cold shooting to start the second half for UR as the home team was just 2-11 from the floor out of the break. Strong work inside on the offensive glass helped keep the Yellowjackets in range as Amy Woods provided numerous big offensive rebounds which led to 10 second chance points.
The halftime lead was cut to three with 10 minutes left in the game. A McNabb shot from long range at 7:30 then tied it for UR and Landolfi’s three gave Rochester its first lead of the game with just under seven minutes left.
For the game, McNabb led UR with 15 points and six rebounds while Loren Wagner had a double-double with 12 points and 12 boards. Madrazo finished with 10 points and four rebounds, including going a perfect 8-8 from the charity stripe. Zywicki had seven points and four assists.
Graham led all scorers in the title game with 17 points and added 5 rebounds and 4 assists. McGinnis finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
UR and Geneseo made up all five spots on the 1st Team All-Wendy’s Classic. Tournament MVP McNabb was joined by teammates Wagner and Zywicki. Geneseo was represented by Graham and McGinnis. William Smith’s Chloe Hayter also made the 1st Team.