Tuesday night’s Plattsburgh State women’s basketball 81-71 win over Saint Lawrence played second fiddle for one night, as it was senior forward Devona Paul’s recording-breaking performance that stole the show. Paul scored 49 points, which broke a previous school record.
“That’s the best individual performance I think I’ve ever seen from a Division III women’s basketball player,” PSUC head coach Cheryl Cole said. “Devona was just in a zone. They tried to single cover her, but she is just so hard to defend. I couldn’t be more pleased with her production.”
Cole said it’s no secret that PSUC wants to put the ball inside, and if someone finds a way to slow that down, they have other weapons that can beat you.
“It was a tough game,” Cole said. “St. Lawrence is a great team. They’re going to win their conference. It was hard fought until the end.”
Devona Paul had some old scores to settle.
“Going into this game, I wanted revenge on St. Lawrence,” Paul said. “I can speak for all the returners that they feel the same way because we got smacked by them last year. I wanted to take them down for what they did to us.”
Senior guard Allie Taylor got a front seat of the action Tuesday night.
“It was exciting to watch it unfold on the court,” Taylor said. “To score that many points in a game is such an accomplishment. It was pretty incredible.”
The non-conference win not only kept the Cards undefeated but will also
pay dividends down the line.
“The non-conference win tonight and against Bowden may help us get an at large bid to the [NCAA] tournament,” Cole said.
With conference play starting Friday, Cole stressed getting those victories can help the Cards make a deep postseason run.
“The only guaranteed way to get into the NCAA tournament is to win your conference,” Cole said.
Their first opponent will be New Paltz, which is one team Cole said can match them athletically.
“They will also trap and double team, so we have to be ready for the pressure at all times,” she said.
Another positive from Tuesday’s game was that the Cards had a season low of turnovers and outrebounded St. Lawrence by 16.
Despite the positives from their last game, PSUC believes there is always room for improvement.
“We want better starts to the game,” Paul said. “We joke that three’s the charm, where we wake up. We’ve been a second-half team so far.”
Paul recognizes that the team can’t become accustomed to these second half surges.
“New Paltz is a scrappy team,” Paul said. “We have to stay disciplined and not get into foul trouble. If we come out like we did in the first half of this game, it’s not going to go well.”
For the team to do well Friday, Cole said they need more of a balanced offense and to shoot the ball better, especially from three point territory. “We couldn’t buy anything from the perimeter against St. Lawrence. It was just one of those off games for us.”
“The first conference game is always important to set a tone for the rest reason,” Taylor said. “We need to show the conference that we are a completely different team this year.”
Email David Luces at firstname.lastname@example.org