PLATTSBURGH — It’s good to be home.
After an 0-2 start to its season, Plattsburgh State won its home opener Tuesday, 88-59, against nonconference opponent St. Lawrence.
“We definitely shoot better at home,” Plattsburgh’s Kathleen Payne said. “We wanted to take the lead and really run them out of the gym.”
Run they did.
The Cardinals racked up 10 fast-break points in the game, while also forcing St. Lawrence into 23 turnovers and early foul trouble.
“We are better conditioned then them and that showed,” Payne said. “We could just tell by their body language they were tired.”
In the first half, the Saints’ Kara McDuffee was 3-for-3 from behind the arc, while 6 foot, 2 inch Kelly Legg knocked down 2-of-4 from three. McDuffee and Legg finished with 12 and 14 points, receptively, for St. Lawrence.
Despite the Saints hot hand from distance, Plattsburgh still managed to keep the game close.
With 30 seconds remaining in the half, Brittany Marshall was able get a steal and facilitate a quick transition pass down the court to Stephanie Linder, who made a nice feed inside to Payne to tie the game at 36.
“Bottom line we needed to be more solid defensively,” Cardinals coach Cheryl Cole said. “First half we were getting really good looks, but we were giving them too much room from three.”
The Cardinals made the adjustments defensively in the second half and contested every Saint 3-point shot. Nearly each miss from St. Lawrence led to a defensive rebound, which kicked out into a quick transition basket.
“We wanted to come out hard and make them put (the ball) on the floor,” Cole said. “We got their big kid (Legg) in trouble early — she picked up her fourth foul two minutes into the second half — that was huge, there was no way they were going to slow us down.”
Plattsburgh’s shot selection was superb, as it finished the game shooting 50 percent from the floor and 36 percent from three.
The Cardinals also out rebounded St. Lawrence, 46-30, in the game, while also recording 20 assists as a team.
“We shared the ball well; we rebounded hard,” Cole said. “We played well as a team; we played to our strengths. We worked on being patient with our half-court offense and fast with our transitions.”
Payne led the Cardinals with a season-high 27 points. She also added six rebounds, four assists and a steal to her stat line.
“I try to play within myself and not force shots,” Payne said. “We played as a team (Tuesday), so my open shots just came to me.”
“(Payne) is probably the best in the conference moving without the ball,” Cole added. “She got so many better touches (Tuesday). When she’s focused and locked in, nobody on the floor can guard her.”
Devona Paul was active for Plattsburgh. Paul was one rebound shy of a double-double, as she pulled down six offensive and three defensive boards to go with her 13 points.
“(Paul) is instant energy. She plays with a lot of passion,” Cole said. “She had six offensive boards; that’s all extra effort.”
The Cardinals are back on the court Saturday, facing Morrisville State on their home floor. Cole is convinced the past weekend and their victory over St. Lawrence can only improve her team’s performance down the stretch.
“I loved the way we responded from the weekend,” Cole said. “We learned a lot, got the message and here we go. We can really build from this game.”
Former Plattsburgh High standout Olivia Carlsson saw action for St. Lawrence Tuesday.
Plattsburgh and Morrisville tip-off at 6 p.m. at Memorial Hall.
Plattsburgh State 88, St. Lawrence 59
St. Lawrence (59)
McDuffee 8-0-12, Quattrocchi 0-0-0, Cady 3-3-9, Dalton 6-2-13, Legg 8-1-14, Carlsson 0-0-0, Godfrey 0-1-1, Mathieu 0-0-0, Sherman 0-0-0, Hahn 3-0-5, Raue 1-0-2, Murray 2-0-3. Totals: 31-7-59.
Plattsburgh State (88)
Marshall 7-1-14, Reifinger 3-0-5, Paul 5-3-13, Payne 13-2-27, Linder 5-1-9, Grenn 1-2-4, Hicks 0-0-0, Hughes 0-0-0, Lloyd 2-1-5, Dolan 1-0-2, Miller 6-0-9. Totals: 43-10-88.
3-point goals: St. Lawrence (10), McDuffee 4, Dalton, Legg 3, Hahn, Murray. Plattsburgh State (8), Marshall, Reifinger, Payne, Linder 2, Miller 3.