The Plattsburgh State women’s basketball team started its season on the road against Norwich Tuesday night, showing how dangerous it could be when given the chance.
After a rough first half, when the team was still trying to find its way, it exploded in the third quarter, outscoring Norwich 22-5 and resembling a team that expects to be in the SUNYAC championship conversation.
“It was our first game of the season, so we had those jitters” head coach Cheryl Cole said. “We started slow. It took us a while to get going.”
In the third quarter, Cole said that the team played with a little more urgency and started to do what it does well: run and let the defense create offense.
“We knocked down a couple of shots. All of a sudden, it went to a 20 point lead, and then we coasted from there,” Cole said. “Everybody just needed to take a deep breath and get down to business. We have great senior leadership, so there was not much I had to say to the team.”
Three players combined for 45 points and sparked the second-half resurgence. Cole mentioned the abundance of weapons can be a problem for opposing teams.
“When you have the ability to share the ball and being able to spread it around a number of people, it makes us dangerous,” Cole said. “It’s not like one person has to carry us. Seeing us do that in the first game makes me happy.”
PSUC senior forward Devona Paul credits the team’s strong veteran players.
“It’s exciting because anyone can take over on any given night,” Paul said. “With the contribution from other players, I’m not worried about the other team because they can’t stop us all.”
Paul said the team is in the midst of trying to get the new players and veterans to mesh together, but she is proud of how the team responded after Norwich made an early run.
Despite a blowout win for the Cards, the victory didn’t come without a caveat. PSUC turned the ball over 27 times, and Cole wants to lessen that.
“We need to take better care of the ball,” Cole said. “We play at a very high pace, so we are going to have more turnovers than a team that walks the ball up the court. But there’s no excuse for unforced errors.”
Junior guard Jax Miller agrees.
“I got to do a better job of controlling the pace of the game, knowing when to push and when to slow down,” Miller said.
Miller, who scored a team high 18 points and shot 4-8 from behind the arc said the connection between the team members is important, and with time, those mistakes will decrease.
Cole, though pleased with the team’s effort, still believes they could do better to start games off.
“Do not rely on these scoring explosions and just come out being more consistent,” Cole said. “Have all that energy and burst to start the game, and don’t wait for it come later.”
This is something Cole wants to see improve not just in Friday’s home opener but throughout the season.
“Just keep it simple and take what the defense gives you,” Cole said. “We can be a lot of better than we were last game, which is exciting.”
Cole said it’s good to get the first win and that the team is ready to protect home court.
“We’re looking forward to the home crowd and giving them a great show,” she said.
Email David Luces at firstname.lastname@example.org