The Plattsburgh State women’s basketball team is well aware of the task at hand. The Cardinals (11-7, 5-6 SUNYAC) must be at their best for the most important stretch of their season.
After sweeping two games against Buffalo State and Fredonia, PSUC is eager to begin its five-game homestand.
The Cards’ head coach Cheryl Cole couldn’t have been prouder of how the team positively responded last weekend.
“To win two games in a row in our conference is a big deal,” Cole said. “It’s very difficult to do.”
Cole said the girls had their backs against the wall and really needed to make a statement.
“It was just huge for us to get those two wins on the road and get some momentum going,” Cole said. “We have games at home now. We’ll use it to carry us down this final stretch and play our way into the tournament.”
Cole stressed to her players to take it one game at a time and wanted them to understand how important their upcoming games will be.
The SUNYAC conference, this season in particular, has been highly competitive from top to bottom.
“Anybody can get beat on any given night,” Cole said. “We can’t overlook anyone.”
The Cards’ non-conference record is 6-1. Compare it to a 5-6 conference record and it shows just how evenly matched the SUNYAC has been this year.
“It’s been a battle,” Cole said. “There’s a couple of games we wished we could get back.”
Cole believes the team has turned a corner and that their best basketball is ahead of them.
“We are starting to understand what we’re good at,” Cole said. “We are very good when we attack the rim so we just need to limit the things we don’t do well. It’s coming to grips of that and staying discipline.”
Freshman guard Meghan Strong agrees.
“We know each other’s tendencies and strengths,” she said. “We’re all starting to understand our roles.”
One of the teams PSUC will be facing this weekend is Oneonta, which has notoriously played the Cards tough throughout the years.
“Oneonta’s games tend to be low-scoring, and they like to dictate the pace,” Cole said.
Senior forward Devona Paul is no stranger to Oneonta’s style of play and knows the challenges PSUC will be up against.
“They can be tough,” she said. “We have to make sure we stick to our strengths and don’t let them control the way we play. I think I can speak for all the players and say we really want this game. They beat us earlier in the season so we want to return the favor and get some revenge.”
Paul also stressed the urgency the Cards are playing with right now.
“We are at the point of the season where every game can make or break us,” Paul said.
One thing Cole stressed to the team is to simply play these games, and get in the tournament. Once they’re in, they start fresh, and anything can happen for the Cards.
“It’s awesome that school’s in session. We’re looking forward to being on our home court and having the crowd behind us,” Cole said. “At this point in the season, it’s step up or go home.”
Email David Luces at firstname.lastname@example.org