PLATTSBURGH — The Cardinals stayed perfect at home.
Plattsburgh State defeated Morrisville State 85-42 Saturday and moved on to the championship game of the Cardinal Classic.
The Cardinals had a 37-19 lead at the end of the first half and came out even stronger in the second half, dominating the Mustangs on the boards and stifling Morrisville’s offense. The Mustangs scored 23 points in the second half.
“I really challenged them at halftime,” Plattsburgh coach Cheryl Cole said. “I want to play at our level; I thought they really responded.”
Plattsburgh will face Lebanon Valley in today’s final.
The Cardinals outrebounded Morrisville 51-33 and also caused 25 Mustangs turnovers, including 13 steals.
Kathleen Payne had her best game of the season, as she was one assist away from a triple-double. She finished the night with 18 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.
“(Payne) is always one step ahead of everyone on the floor,” Cole said. “She’s fast, athletic; she really lit it up in the second half.”
Payne’s back-to-back blocks in the first half were the highlight plays of the night.
With the shot clock running down, Payne made the initial block on one of the Morrisville guards, which resulted in Morrisville’s ball underneath the basket with just three seconds left to shoot. The Mustangs quickly inbounded to a player at the top of the key, and Payne was able to swat the shot attempt away and transition down the floor for an easy lay-in.
“On that out-of-bounds play, she was calling for the ball and I knew she was going to shoot as soon as she caught it, so I just tried to get my hand up,” Payne said.
Although Payne highlighted the stat sheet, as a team Plattsburgh dominated the opposition. Everyone on the team contributed. Forty-two of the Cardinals’ 85 points came off the bench, five players finished in double digits and the team accumulated 29 assists.