PLATTSBURGH — In the end, Plattsburgh State goes out as conference champion.
“It’s a long time coming … and it’s outstanding to be the first to do some things and to be able to be the first with this group,” Cardinals coach Cheryl Cole said. “They’re an awesome group and they’ve done everything we asked them to do, and to go out as champions and go to the NCAA tournament for the first time ever … it’s outstanding.”
After playing from behind most of the game, Plattsburgh was able to pull away from SUNY Geneseo when it mattered, and earned a 57-52 victory to claim the program’s first ever SUNY Athletic Conference crown in women’s basketball play Saturday.
“Any awards I’ve ever won, this tops anything,” Cardinals’ Kathleen Payne said. “My whole life I’ve never won a championship, so it means so much to me and these girls mean the world to me and I couldn’t ask for a better team.”
With just over two minutes into the game, Plattsburgh had a scary moment when starting point guard Brittany Marshall remained on the ground favoring her ankle. Marshall looked to be in immense pain and it was unclear at first if she would reenter the match.
“Probably the most that affected us in the first half was Britt going down,” Cole said. “She’s our floor leader and I think that rattles our team, and I think that played into our problems in the first half.”
However, after Marshall spent some time with the trainers, she wrapped up her ankle and with 13:56 remaining in the first half she came back in. Bum ankle and all, she played through the pain and finished with 13 points and three assists in 35 minutes of play.
“I think it was adrenaline … I wanted to win it for (my team) and they got my back the whole time and I knew I could just keep going a little bit longer; if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have made it,” Marshall said.