ATLANTA (March 24, 2016) – The State University of New York at Geneseo women's basketball program has been honored by Russell Athletic and the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) as the recipient of the fifth annual Russell Athletic "Together We R" Team Award.
In its fifth year, the "Together We R" Team Award honors programs that have strived to succeed in the face of adversity, overcoming extraordinary circumstances such as an unforeseen team crisis, barrier or unfortunate situation that caused extra stress. The team must exemplify strong commitment to core values of togetherness, courage, unparalleled work ethic and heart, and must personify the "Together We R" belief that teams are stronger than individuals.
On Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, SUNY Geneseo women’s basketball team lost senior Kelsey Annese to an apparent double-murder/suicide. According to police, Annese and a friend were killed at the hands of her “distraught” ex-boyfriend while they slept.
The night before she was killed, Annese posted two career-highs, playing 13 minutes and scoring five points, contributing to the Knights defeating Buffalo State, 63-52, on the road.
The intangible contributions Annese brought to the team, and the respect and love the team had for her led to her being voted as one of three team captains during her senior season.
Below is an excerpt from the eulogy given by Kelsey’s teammates at her funeral:
“Kelsey was the type of person you strived to be, and we are all better people for knowing her. As a teammate we could always count on Kelsey to do the little things that most of us would overlook. She was always the first to do crunches for missed layups. She was the loudest on the bench. She always knew what to say and when it needed to be said and her smile could change your day. Every single person on this team looked up to her. She was the one who made this team a family.”
SUNY Geneseo went on to win 10 of their final 12 regular season games paving its way to the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) tournament. Ultimately, the Knights fell to top-seeded New Paltz, 65-53, in the final. The Knights ended the season with a 21-8 record, earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Tournament. They advanced to the second round before dropping a 66-60 decision to Stevens.
“It is unimaginable that any family or program would have to endure such a tragedy,” said Matt Murphy, Russell Athletic Vice President of Marketing. “Kelsey was an inspiration to her team. The determination and dedication that it took for the SUNY Knights to keep their focus and finish the season in honor of their fallen teammate is a perfect demonstration of what individuals can overcome when working together as a team. Russell Athletic is proud to recognize the SUNY Geneseo women’s basketball team with the 2016 ‘Together We R’ Award.”
“It's impossible to understand why tragedies happen. Our women's basketball family mourns the loss of Kelsey. However, it is inspiring to see the profound impact one person can have on others. It’s hard to fathom what her family, team and institution has had to endure over the past few months. Losing a loved one is painful and with Kelsey’s case being so unique, we offer the Knights our utmost respect for their response of unification and commitment in Kelsey’s honor to an exceptional season.” said WBCA Executive Director Danielle Donehew.
About RUSSELL BRANDS, LLC
For more than 100 years, Russell Brands, LLC, has supplied America’s athletes and teams with the latest innovations to help them perform at their best and is a leading supplier of apparel and team uniforms at the high school, college and professional levels. Russell’s collegiate licensed products and athletic wear are broadly distributed and marketed through department stores, sports specialty stores, retail chains and college bookstores. For more information, please visit www.RussellAthletic.com, Facebook and Twitter.
About the WBCA:
Founded in 1981, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association promotes women's basketball by unifying coaches at all levels to develop a reputable identity for the sport and to foster and promote the development of the game in all of its aspects as a sport for women and girls. For more information about the WBCA, please visit wbca.org.
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