By TIM PULSIFER
---- — NEW YORK — Back to business.
Throughout the early portions of the current season, Plattsburgh State’s women’s basketball team made a living out of playing it close in the early going before hitting the gas and wearing down opponents in the second half.
That’s the winning formula the Cardinals once again employed on Sunday afternoon, en route to a 67-58 non-conference victory over Skidmore College in the third-place game of the NYU Holiday Classic in New York City.
Plattsburgh (6-3, 3-1 SUNYAC), which struggled to generate any consistency on offense in a somewhat disappointing three-point loss to William Smith on Saturday, had no such difficulty Sunday, particularly in the second half of play.
After a tight first half, that wound up knotted at 24 at the break, the Cardinals kicked their collective game into gear and outscored the Thoroughbreds 43-34 for the balance of the contest to salvage a split of their weekend series in the Big Apple.
“We weren’t feeling too good about ourselves after Saturday. We were just out of sync for some reason; but, today, we really bounced back with a solid all-around team effort,” said Plattsburgh head coach Cheryl Cole.
“I was very pleased with our effort. We worked hard, shared the ball well and really got into a nice flow, particularly in the second half.”
The Cardinals shot the ball extremely well from downtown, paricularly after the break, connecting on seven of 15 attempts (47%) from beyond the arc, and also finished with four players in double figures.
Kathleen Payne (16 points, two threes and seven rebounds), Brittany Marshall (12 points, two threes, six assists), Misha Greene (11 points, five rebounds) and Brooke Reifinger (11 points, three threes) paced a well-balanced offensive attack for the winners.
The Plattsburgh defense, led by Devona Paul (eight blocked shots and eight boards) also continued to shine in limiting Skidmore to just 17 of 60 (28%) shooting from the field for the game.
Skylar Caligaris connected on three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points and Dani DeGregory chipped in with another nine for Skidmore (2-7).
The Thoroughbreds were able to keep things close for most of the game, primarily due to their prolific outside shooting, connecting on eight of their 20 attempts from three-point range.
In the end, however, it wasn’t enough as the Cardinals secured their sixth win of the year from the foul line down the stretch.
“This was just a real good team effort,” said Cole. “There are still things we need to clean up but everyone really worked hard today, everyone contributed and we showed a lot of depth today as well.
“Our offensive execution and ball movement were also very good, creating lots of open looks outside. When we get those sort of looks, we’re generally able to knock them down and that’s exactly how it worked out today.
“I was also very happy with the way were able to take care of business from the free throw line down the stretch and finish strong. That’s something we need to be able to do. All in all, this was a very nice way to cap our weekend.”
The Cardinals now return home where they will host another non-conference opponent in Norwich University on Jan. 8.
NYU Holiday Classic
Plattsburgh State 67, Skidmore College 58
Plattsburgh State (67)
Marshall 2-6-12; Green 5-1-11; Lloyd 1-2-4; Reifinger 4-0-11; Paul 1-0-2; Payne 4-6-16; Cassidy 0-2-2; Nucaro 2-0-4; Adedapo 0-0-0; Coreyea 1-1-3; Lewis 1-0-2. Totals: 21-18-67.
Skidmore College (58)
DeGregory 1-6-9; Warits 2-2-7; Keller 0-0-0; Frederick 2-1-5; Gile 1-0-2; Botiba 2-1-5; Davis 0-0-0; Scheuerell 3-0-7; Holgate 1-4-7; McGlaughlin 2-0-5; Caligaris 3-2-11. Totals: 17-16-58.
3-Point Field Goals: PSU 7, Reifinger 3, Marshall 2, Payne 2. Skidmore 8, Caligaris 3, Holgate, McGlaughlin, DeGregory, Warits, Scheuerell.
Halftime Score: Plattsburgh State 24, Skidmore College 24.