PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh State is one step closer to its first SUNY Athletic Conference title.
“So pumped. (We’ll) take a minute to celebrate and then we’re on to the next one,” the Cardinals’ Brittany Marshall said.
Before Friday’s matchup Plattsburgh (21-5) had beaten every SUNYAC opponent at least once during the regular season except for fifth-seeded Cortland (16-11). However, the Cardinals finally figured out the Red Dragons’ tenacious zone defense Friday en route to a 69-60 victory in women’s basketball play.
“Sweet redemption,” Plattsburgh coach Cheryl Cole said. “That was just a great game. They played so hard and we played just as hard to beat them.”
The game was up and down in the first half, but it was the Cardinals’ Stephanie Linder who made two clutch shots before halftime to erase Plattsburgh’s deficit.
With under a minute remaining, Linder sank a three as the shot clock buzzer sounded, closing Cortland’s lead to two.
Then Plattsburgh got another opportunity with just seconds remaining and the Saranac native once again was on the receiving end This time she was able to gather a pass from an inbounds under-the-basket play and gave the Cardinals two more points to tie the score at 34 heading into the half.
“Anything like that just gives us such great momentum heading into the half,” Linder said. “I wanted to be more composed and I want to be in there to help make plays happen.”
Plattsburgh seemed to have the slight edge in the second half, as they frustrated the Red Dragons with their defensive pressure. The Cardinals caused 24 Cortland turnovers and were able to capitalize with 22 points off those turnovers.
“We made some adjustments and they were huge,” Cole said. “One of the keys was Brooke (Reifinger’s) pressure on their point guard and Britt’s penetration in their zone.”