The Plattsburgh State women’s basketball team starts its SUNYAC conference schedule tonight in Memorial Hall at 5:30 p.m. against New Paltz.
The Cardinals fared well in their first four games of the season, going 3-1 during the stretch.
After the season-opening win against Norwich University, PSUC hosted the Cardinal Classic, where it qualified for the championship game after late-game heroics against New England College from junior guard Taylor Durnin.
With 3 seconds left in the game, Durnin scored the game-winning layup on an isolation play to edge out the Pilgrims 59-57 right after committing a turnover that led to the game-tying basket for New England.
The Cards met the Sage Gators in the championship game but couldn’t pull off the win. PSUC kept the game competitive entering the fourth quarter 49-47 before letting the Gators go off for 18 straight points. PSUC held Sage to only 4 points after, but fell short by a score of 78-64.
The Cards then went on the road to face off against St. Lawrence. PSUC rose to the challenge of the first road game of the season, defeating the Saints 77-59 in their own gym.
Defense and taking care of the ball were keys to the Cards’ win. PSUC forced 24 St. Lawrence turnovers while mishandling the ball only seven times.
Senior Bella DePasquale led the way for the team and notched 22 points on 7-13 shooting and 7-12 from behind the arc.
Along with DePasquale, her teammates shot well, with a 70 percent clip, and scored 35 points in the first quarter, the most in any quarter so far this season.
“I wanted to bring those rims home with us. We really liked them,” head coach Cheryl Cole said.
Cole finds the games played so far as promising signs of a stronger, balanced team on both ends of the court.
With finals and the SUNYAC conference schedule approaching, one of the hardest stretches of the season starts soon for PSUC, especially with two road games in Brockport and Geneseo the weekend before finals week.
“This is crunch time right now,” Cole said. “This is the toughest time of the year.”
To make matters worse, of the five games remaining before the semester’s end, four are conference opponents. Of those four, Geneseo, Oneonta and New Paltz placed in the top three of the conference last year.
Staying on top of school work is also a critical focus Cole and her staff have stressed with the players. Bringing work back home for Thanksgiving break and getting more done before road trips and for the freshman, meeting with the coaching staff weekly to keep track of their academic progress were steps taken to ensure good academic standing among the players.
At the end of the calendar year, the Cards will participate in the Exclusive Invitational in Miami. After the tough schedule PSUC will be facing, the biennial Florida trip is something the whole team looks forward to.
“We get to decompress a little after finals,” Cole said. “It’s the light at the end of the tunnel.”
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