Last Friday, the Plattsburgh State women’s basketball team started off its 2017-18 season with three straight losses, leading up to the its first SUNYAC game against the Fredonia Blue Devils tonight at 5:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall.
Going into the matchup, head coach Cheryl Cole has her sights set on Fredonia junior forward Jenna Einink.
“They probably have the best post [scorer] in the conference,” Cole said. “She is going to get her points. We just can’t let her go off on us.”
Einink is currently averaging 18 points per game on the season. The Cardinals know the Blue Devils will be looking to feed Einink the ball every trip down the court, and it will be their job to limit as many of her post touches as possible.
Cole noted the team’s youth, a prevailing problem PSUC is facing, as a dividing factor between the two teams.
“They are more experienced than we are,” Cole said.
The Cards’ final match in their five-game homestand is against the 2-3 Buffalo State Bengals, which comes before PSUC embarks on a nine-game road trip.
The Cards started off the 2017-18 season at home in the Cardinal Classic tournament, in which the team lost both games and continued its streak the following week in a loss to St. Lawrence University. But starting 0-3 doesn’t concern Cole.
“The season is young. There is no reason to panic,” Cole said.
Cole believes the team’s collective youth hinders their ability to close games, but hopes the team will gel together. as the season progresses.
Cole pinpointed the team’s identity as a key issue the team must overcome to improve.
“We are searching for an identity, we are searching for leadership,” Cole said. “That is our biggest struggle right now”
Sophomore forward Frannie Merkel agreed with her coach, saying leaders need to set an example and inspire their teammates to work harder and make the right decisions on the court.
PSUC began the tournament in a losing effort with a score of 53-59 last Friday in a matchup against the Plymouth State Panthers.
The Cards shot a woeful 28% from the field overall, and 12% from deep. Meanwhile, the Panthers shot 33% from both the field and beyond the arc.
Guard Brittany Roche lead the Panthers with 19 points, while point guard Anna Thompson lead PSUC with 15.
Despite the Cards’ poor shooting, the team was able to keep the contest close, but was unable to hold on.
The Cards’ following opponent in the Cardinal Classic came as a consolation game against the Clarkson University Golden Knights. Again, PSUC kept the game close but couldn’t stave off defeat.
Senior guard Devin Sorell exploded for the Golden Knights with 27 points in 34 minutes of play. With a final score of 59-64, the Cards left the Cardinal Classic without a win.
Last Wednesday, in a game against the St. Lawrence Saints, PSUC suffered offensive woes but also displayed a brief period of defensive prowess.
The Cards held the Saints to 18 points in the first half, but went on to allow just as many points in the third quarter alone and then gave up 23 points to Clarkson in the fourth, all the while scoring a meagre 26 points total.
Cole believes much of the team’s issues can be boiled down to inexperience and stressed the need for composure.
“We need to relax,” Cole said, “and play how we’ve been practicing.”
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