After falling short of its SUNYAC title defense in a last-second thriller to Oneonta last season, the Plattsburgh State women’s basketball team is eager to redeem itself and has unfinished business on its mind.

The team is focused, and their goal, as usual, is to win the championship again head coach Cheryl Cole said. “Last year, we came a little short of defending it, but this year, we are in a very unique situation.”

This season, the Cards have four returning starters, and Cole said she would put them up against anybody.

“They know our offense and defense inside and out,” she said. “You can’t replace experience and their leadership.”

Senior Mischa Green believes PSUC’s experience gives the team an advantage over other teams.

“To have four starters come back is a big deal,” Green said. “It’s a comforting feeling.”

Green stressed getting early wins at home is important not only to set the tone but as a good confidence booster for the team.

“Our main goal is SUNYACs and beyond,” Green said.

Including Green and other upper classmen, Cole acknowledged the veteran presence and experience PSUC has this season will be a key factor to their success.

“With such a veteran team, it’s like having coaches on the court,” Cole said. “When you have great leaders that know how to get it done and understand what we’re trying to teach, they make my life easier.”

One big question heading into the season is how fast the new players can get up to speed.

“It doesn’t happen overnight, and it takes patience,” Cole said. “We need that depth and health to make that run. It’s a long physical season, so that will be the key. We have the desire to do it.”

Senior Stephanie Linder agrees.

“The biggest thing for us is staying consistent,” Linder said. “If we do that, we are going to have a solid chance of getting back there. You can see in practice that the new players are getting acclimated. You can see it clicking.”

With the Cards having a tough schedule this season, including conference games, Linder said every game will be a good matchup.

Cole reiterated how the starters play and how the new players mesh will dictate how well the Cards will do this season.

“The SUNYAC is a tough conference,” Cole said. “Cortland seems like the team to beat on paper. We had a tough time with them the year we won the championship. They play a really good zone.”

Cole said there will be some ups and down this season, but she is confident that the Cards will be a better team in February than in the beginning of the season.

“This is a group I’m proud to be coaching,” Cole said. “We are all excited to get the season going.”

Email David Luces at david.luces@cardinalpointsonline.com

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