On Tuesday night, the reigning SUNYAC champion Plattsburgh State women’s basketball had their season cut short with a last-second thriller against Oneonta. Although the sting of defeat hurts, the Cardinals plan to learn from both their blunders and triumphs as they prepare for next season.
“We played a great, competitive game,” head coach Cheryl Cole said. “We didn’t have many turnovers, and we were able to play our game.”
In their previous meeting, Oneonta tried to slow the Cards down with a 1-2-1-1 press, which allowed them to dictate the pace of the game.
Cole said the team worked toward breaking this press in preparation for the game. This proved to be useful, but the Cards’ inability to make free-throws was what ended up hurting them. The team shot 13-22 from the line, and any one of those missed free throws could have tied it up.
In terms of their triumphs, the Cards were fortunate to attain various milestones throughout the course of the season — Cole was able to capture her 200th win and Marshall attained 1,000 career points as well as becoming the all-time assist leader, here at PSUC. In addition to these accolades, the season concluded with All-SUNYAC recognition for Devona Paul and Marshall. The duo was a force in the conference this year, and Marshall is especially gratified by her partner-in-crimes’ success.
“Devona puts her heart and soul into every aspect of the game,” Marshall said. “She puts everything on the line for every second of every game.”
This never-die attitude of Paul was embodied when she was asked about the final seconds of the team’s last game.
“I always think, even in the last three seconds, that our team has a chance,” Paul said. “It’s a surreal feeling.”
Paul looks forward to reassembling as a team in the upcoming weeks and getting back to work toward another SUNYAC championship. She is a self-proclaimed 365-day basketball player, and she is working to create a team to submit to a summer league close to home.
“Last summer, I found great difficulty finding a league to play in during the off-season,” Paul said. “I just want to be able to keep my game strong, even when I’m not in season.”
It is clear that Paul will be a big part of PSUC program next year, but she is not the only prospect for success.
Senior guard/forward Misha Green, who had the second-most rebounds on the team with 158 this season, has another year of eligibility along with junior forward Stephanie Linder. Linder led the team with 58 steals this year, and her defense was vital in PSUC’s battle with Oneonta.
“We put Linder on a big kid and she did a phenomenal job,” Cole said. “Unfortunately, she gets into foul trouble, and that hurt us for the rest of the game.”
The future looks bright for the Cards, and Marshall has the utmost confidence that the teammates she is leaving behind will find a way to get the job done.
“Everyone on the team is a leader in some aspect of the game,” Marshall said. “Everyone stepped up when they needed to this season, and I have no doubt that they will continue to do the same for years to come.”
Email Kevin Morley at firstname.lastname@example.org