Now eliminated from SUNYAC playoffs contention, the Plattsburgh State women’s basketball team had nothing to lose and wanted to end their season off on a high note.
The Cardinals started off their final weekend against No. 1 seeded SUNY New Paltz on Friday at Plattsburgh and ended up never holding a lead, falling to a score of 73-45.
PSU was led by senior guard/forward Taylor Durnin, scoring a team-high 10 points, a team-high 6 rebounds, and a team-high 3 assists. Junior guard Hanna Whitney tallied 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals coming off the bench. Junior guard Theresa Quinn scored 7 points off the bench, while sophomore guard Kayla Doody and sophomore guard/forward Kelly Degnan each had 5 points.
The Cards just couldn’t get anything going, making just 15 field goals for the entire game, and only shooting 3-of-19 from beyond the arc. PSU showcased good team basketball, however, as 80% of those field goals came off of assists.
The Cards lost in the rebounding game as well, losing 49-35, while New Paltz grabbed 20 offensive rebounds. PSU ended up turning over the ball 24 times, which was a season-high and lost every individual quarter as well.
The final game of the season took place the next day at Plattsburgh against SUNY Oneonta and the Cards couldn’t come out on top, falling to a score of 70-58 on senior day.
This game would mark the final collegiate match for Durnin, senior forward Taylor Clare, and sophomore guard Ly’rell Walker. They were all honored and congratulated prior to tipoff.
Durnin ended her career strong, leading the team in points with 13 while adding 3 rebounds and 1 steal. Quinn added 12 points and 1 block off the bench, and Whitney also contributed well off the bench, tallying 9 points and 4 rebounds. Freshman forward Misa Dowdell scored 6 points and reeled in 3 rebounds in just five minutes coming off the bench.
Walker closed out her career with 4 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and a steal. Clare capped off her career with 4 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals.
Clare fouled out of the game with 12 seconds left on the clock in the 4th quarter and got a huge standing ovation from the Plattsburgh crowd for the last game of her college career.
The Cards traded numerous blows with Oneonta at the start of the game, with the lead changing 11 times during the first three minutes, but could never find a lead afterward. PSU shot 34.5% from the floor, 37.5% from the three-point arc, and 69.2% from the free-throw line while forcing Oneonta to 17 turnovers. They were outrebounded once again, losing the rebounding game 43-28, while SUNY Oneonta grabbed 15 offensive rebounds.
Durnin led the team this season in points per game, totaling 246 total points (9.8 ppg) on 85 field goals made. Quinn wasn’t too far behind her, finishing the season with 232 points (9.3 ppg) on 80 field goals made. Clare led the team in rebounding, reeling in 210 rebounds, and averaging 8.4 rebounds a game. Doody led the team in assists, dishing out 62 assists (3.0 apg), and Durnin had 60 assists (2.4 apg). Clare, Quinn, Durnin, Walker, and Doody all averaged at least 1 steal per game.
Clare finished her college career with a total of 507 points and 612 rebounds in four seasons with the Cards.
“She was a huge impact on the floor,” Walker said. “She’s a really close friend of mine, so I looked up to her a lot. On defense, as soon as someone would drive to the basket, we knew that a block was coming. Every game she got at least 2 blocks, and on offense, a lot of teams couldn’t guard her as a big, so we ran the offense around her, which I thought was pretty cool.”
Clare totaled 46 blocks throughout the season and averaged 2 blocks per game. She finished her career third on the PSU all-time blocks list with a total of 150 rejections throughout her collegiate career.
“When I found out on Saturday that I was third all-time, I felt really good,” Clare said. “It’s good to know that I’ve left my stamp here in my four years, so it’s a good feeling. I had a game this season where I had 10 blocks, and another where I had 21 rebounds, so I just hope that the underclassmen and new recruits can live up to my standards.”
Head coach Cheryl Cole, who has been with the team for 23 years, was really impressed with what Clare brought to the floor in her four years.
“Not only did she have 150 blocks, but she also altered a lot of shots,” Cole said. “She did the same as a freshman, but she would also foul, so she had to spend a lot of time on the bench. In her senior year, she put it all together and was able to defend and block shots without fouling. When it comes to rebounding, her shoes are going to be hard to fill, because outside of Clare, we weren’t a great rebounding team. She left it all on the floor and I couldn’t be more proud of what she did for us on the floor and off the floor as a leader.”
Durnin did not play her freshman season due to injury. In just three seasons, she totaled 922 points, reeled in 367 rebounds, dished out 188 assists and had 92 steals.
“When it comes to my impact on the team, I feel like it reflected from the hustle plays,” Durnin said. “I always tried my best, whether it was diving for a loose ball at practice, or taking a charge during the game. I also always tried my best to stay positive and have a smile on my face for my teammates. I don’t think the team will have a problem filling my shoes. There are a lot of hardworking, talented individuals on the team that still have huge potential.”
A lot of her teammates including Walker all saw Durnin as a great leader for them on both ends of the floor.
“With her high basketball IQ, she’s great to look up to. When she’s on the floor, she knows what to do. We can pass the ball to her and expect great things,” Walker said. “She was the LeBron of our team.”
Walker spent just two seasons with the basketball team and tallied a total of 339 points, 238 rebounds, 108 assists and 69 steals.
“She is a very ambitious player,” Cole said. “I’ve never had a player come in as a freshman and graduate as a sophomore. That in itself is pretty damn impressive. She’s disciplined during every opportunity, and when she puts her mind to something, she gets it done. On the floor, she was the toughest matchup for other teams because of her ridiculous handles. Her ability to handle the ball is by far unmatched. She was also our best offensive rebounder and was able to post people up and take it to the basket with contact.”
PSU finished their season with a record of 7-18 overall (4-14 SUNYAC) and will be without the services of three of their most impactful players next season.
“Hopefully, their departures will motivate our underclassmen to put in the work in the off-season to fill some pieces,” Cole said. “There’s a lot of minutes up for grabs next season and six players have already committed themselves to return next season. Those three players are all special, and they’ve certainly left their mark in the program.”
Email Nate Bryson at firstname.lastname@example.org