GENESEO — Junior forward Kathleen Payne had a game-high 25 points, but the Plattsburgh State women’s basketball team suffered from some untimely offensive outages in a 77-68 loss to Geneseo Friday.
The Knights (8-3, 4-1) made good on just over 50 percent of their field goal attempts, while the Cardinals (7-4, 3-2) were held to 41.7 percent from the field.
The Knights opened on a 9-0 run to take control of the first half. Four different players tallied points during the spurt where the Cardinals went 0-for-4 from the field and committed one of their eight first-half turnovers.
Looking at an 18-12 deficit, head coach Cheryl Cole summoned Kathleen Payne from the bench, and the junior was more than up to the task of chipping away at Geneseo’s lead.
Payne put in four consecutive points to pull the Cardinals within two and Marshall added a fast break layup after a free throw make by the Knights to make it a 19-18 game with 6:48 left in the first half, but Geneseo withstood the short flurry and came back with one of their own.
“(Payne) played hard,” Cole said. “She has been one of our best two players this season. She goes to the rim and is capable of having that kind of game. She was guarding one of their best players and did well.”
Cara Manfredi single-handedly brought the momentum back to the Knights’ bench, pouring in all eight points during an 8-2 spurt that put the Cardinals down 27-20 with 4:20 to go in the stanza. Manfredi’s run was just a part of a larger 19-7 Geneseo surge that spanned the final 6:48 of the first half, sending the Cardinals to the break in a 38-25 hole.
“Unfortunately, we had a lull in the first half, which allowed them to build a healthy lead,” Cole said. “It was a mental breakdown and we need to be more disciplined. They’re definitely capable of being the best team in our conference.
“They were disruptive on defense throughout. We turned the ball over nine times in the first half as compared to three times in the second half.”
Instead of mounting a rally early on in the deciding frame, the Cardinals saw their deficit increase to 18 in the first 2:48 after a 5-0 push by the Knights. Fortunately, Payne and the rest of the Cardinals were undaunted by numbers on the scoreboard.
Taking matters into her own hands, Payne tallied 11 of the first 14 points for the Cardinals and led her squad back to within 11 with 12:29 left in the tilt. With the majority of the damage in that stretch done on the interior part of the court, the Cardinals took up residence from beyond the arc to slice further into the Geneseo lead.
Jumpers from Yazmin Lewis and Marshall brought Plattsburgh within seven (59-52), and after another short jumper from the Knights, Misha Green came up with a fast break layup off of a steal before swishing her free throw attempt to make it a 61-55 Geneseo lead with 5:20 to go.
Two quick baskets by the Knights made it a 10 point lead again with 4:02 to go, and the home team went on to ice things thanks to timely field goal makes coupled with effective free throw shooting down the stretch to emerge victorious.
McKenna was one of four Knights in double figures, netting a team-high 20 points. Katie Peterson added 12 while McGinnis and Menfredi chipped in 11 and 10, respectively. Melissa Graham had game-highs in steals (five) and assists (six).
The Knights held a 34-32 rebounding advantage and the Cardinals had one less turnover (12) than their SUNYAC counterpart (13).
“I’m not disappointed in our effort,” Cole said. “It’s tough to play on the road, but we battled. We get them at home later in the semester and we’ll be ready.”
The Cardinals will look to bounce back on Saturday afternoon as they head for Brockport to take on the Golden Eagles. The SUNYAC bout is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.
Geneseo 77, Plattsburgh State 68
Plattsburgh State (68)
Payne 9-5-25, Marshall 5-2-14, Nucaro 2-2-7, Lloyd 3-0-6, Reifinger 2-0-6, Green 2-1-5, Cassidy 1-0-3, Lewis 1-0-2, Paul 0-0-0. Totals: 25-10-68.
McKenna 6-7-20, Peterson 6-0-12, McGinnis 4-2-11, Manfredi 4-1-10, Cohan 3-1-9, Graham 4-0-9, Reinhardt 1-0-2, Hill 0-2-2, Heiselman 0-1-1, Lewis 0-1-1. Totals: 28-15-77.
Halftime: Geneseo, 38-25.
3-point goals: Plattsburgh (8): Marshall 2, Reifinger 2, Cassidy, Nucaro, Payne 2. Geneseo (6): McGinnis, McKenna, Graham, Manfredi, Cohan 2.