---- — TROY — Dana Nucaro led a balanced attack as Plattsburgh State opened its 2012-13 campaign with a solid 58-42 nonconference win over Sage in women’s basketball Thursday night.
Nucaro poured in a career-high 19 points and also pulled down nine boards to power the Cardinals.
“Dana played extremely well,” Plattsburgh coach Cheryl Cole said. “She has really worked hard and is getting better in all parts of her game and is a leader on this team. I couldn’t be happier for her.”
Kathleen Payne also contributed a workmanlike 12 points and eight rebounds, and Brittany Marshall connected on a pair of threes and finished with 11 points for Plattsburgh.
Erica Houle answered with a team-high 18 points, including four 3-pointers, to pace the Gators, and Amie Jefferson added 10 points and 12 boards.
The Cardinals sputtered offensively early on but went into the break leading 20-14 despite connecting on just seven of 27 attempts from the field. Plattsburgh also turned the ball over 10 times over the opening 20 minutes of play.
“We played great defense all night, and I was real pleased with that. But for some reason, we really struggled on offense in the first half,” Cole said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well at all. Made some bad decisions, and ten turnovers in a half is just something you just can’t have. We were definitely tight. Call it nerves or whatever, but once we settled in, we played a lot better in the second half and finished very strong.”
Plattsburgh turned the ball over just three more times, shot much better after the break and coasted down the stretch to the double-digit victory.
The Cardinals’ primary focus entering the season was improvement in the areas of defense and rebounding. They excelled in both areas in their season opener; limiting the Gators to just 15-of -66 (22.7%) from the field while outrebounding them 57-44.
“I was real pleased with our effort in those areas,” Cole said. “Everyone was working hard on defense as well as on the boards. We definitely can get better in sustaining our focus for 40 minutes, but overall, I thought, tonight was a real solid performance.”
Plattsburgh will now be idle until a week from Sunday when it hosts Middlebury at Memorial Hall.
Plattsburgh State 58,
Sage College 42
Nucaro 7-4-19; Payne 4-4-12; Marshall 4-1-11; Reifinger 2-3-8; Cassidy 0-1-1; Hart 2-0-4; Halstead 1-1-3; Coryea 0-0-0; Paul 0-0-0; Adedaro 0-0-0; Pellerin 0-0-0. Totals: 20-14-58.
Sage College (42)
Jefferson 3-4-10; Martin 3-1-7; McClain 2-0-4; Bowman 0-1-1; Vallee 0-0-0; Houle 6-2-18; Leslie 1-0-2; Tironi 0-0-0; Race0-0-0; Jicha 0-0-0; Vanacore 0-0-0. Totals: 15-8-42.
3-point goals: Plattsburgh (4), Marshall 2, Reifinger, Nucaro. Sage (4), Houle 4.
Halftime: Plattsburgh 20, Sage College 14