By Liam Sample
The Plattsburgh’s women’s basketball team (2-2) hosted its lone tournament of the year, the Cardinal Classic, Nov. 11 and 12 at Memorial Hall. Three teams traveled to Plattsburgh to participate in the tournament, the Wesleyan University Cardinals (1-1), the Potsdam Bears (1-1) and the Cobleskill Fighting Tigers (1-2.)
The tournament began with the Fighting Tigers taking on Plattsburgh. An estimated 160 people were in attendance as the game started off in a close match, being tied at 26 with three minutes left in the second quarter. Plattsburgh then scored the next 19 straight points and went on to win 74-50, the largest score differential of the weekend.
The team was led by 17 points from first-year guard Kortney McCarthy and a double-double from first-year forward Imani Walcott.
Coach Ben Sarraf said the team was getting “good looks” on shots, but the defense was the key for the win.
“The defense was kind of the catalyst of how we won that game,” Sarraf said. “We were very good on defense. Our press worked, our man to man defense in the half court worked.”
Sarraf added that the team managed to score big points in transition and the rebounding has improved since last season.
The next game was a Friday night showdown between Potsdam and Wesleyan, where the Bears won a nailbiter in overtime 72-68 fueled by 30 points from senior guard Dyamon Hunter.
The tournament resumed the next game by Cobleskill responding to its earlier loss by taking down Potsdam 80-73.
The finale of the tournament was one for the Cards, as the Wesleyan Cardinals took on Plattsburgh. Despite a close first quarter, Wesleyan found its game and led by as much as 17 in the third quarter. Plattsburgh clawed its way back and tied the game at 47 late in the third quarter.
In a tight fourth quarter where Plattsburgh led by three with 3:39 to go in regulation, Wesleyan scored 10 straight points to win 69-60, handing Plattsburgh its first loss of the year.
Sarraf said its opponent had more experience and late in the game, Plattsburgh took “ill-advised” shots late in the game, which Sarraf said the team will learn from.
Sarraf added that the team gave up too many three pointers early, but when the team switched to zone defense in the second half, it helped close the gap. Despite the loss, Sarraf was happy with the “grit” the team showed and the adjustments made.
“I can’t remember a game in the last 10 years where we were down that much and we found a way to take the lead,” Sarraf said. “In 10 years, that’s the biggest comeback. But we didn’t finish.”
Plattsburgh’s next game came against the St. Lawrence Saints Nov. 16, where it lost 58-60.