BUFFALO — Second halves have been the proverbial thorn in the side for the Plattsburgh State women’s basketball team as of late, and that trend continued Friday evening.
The Cardinals (9-8, 5-5 SUNYAC) took a 31-18 lead into halftime and led by as many as 16 points, but couldn’t seal the deal against Buffalo State, which earned a 57-48 victory thanks to a 39-17 point differential in the deciding frame.
In the first 10:33 of the final stanza, the Bengals (9-8, 5-5) went on a 20-7 scoring spree, trimming the Plattsburgh lead to 38-36 after Ashley Wallace finished off a three-point play with a make at the charity stripe. During the calamitous stretch, the Cardinals lost nearly all composure from the field as they hit just two of their 18 field goal attempts and turned the ball over three times.
“We came out flat in the second half,” Plattsburgh coach Cheryl Cole said. “They went zone, and we missed shots. It was a great decision by them, and it made us complacent. It was a tale of two halves. We were one-and-done on several possessions. We didn’t have a single assist, while committing nine turnovers in the final 20 minutes.”
Bianca Smiley drilled a jumper in the paint with 5:30 remaining to kick-start a 12-0 surge that put the Bengals on top for good. Olivia Luciani canned one of the two three-pointers for the Bengals on the night, making it a 51-47 lead for the home team with just 62 seconds left.
During the final Buffalo State push, the Cardinals still couldn’t buy a basket, going 0-of-7 from the field and committing four turnovers.
“Between their zone and missing shots, we were a little tentative,” Cole said. “We could’ve had a bigger lead, but were shooting so poorly. We weren’t able to get stops in the post, or slow them down. They played with a lot of energy and passion, which we couldn’t match.