By TIM PULSIFER
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Coming off Friday night’s emotional overtime loss to unbeaten New Paltz, one had to wonder just how much an already short-handed Plattsburgh State’s women’s basketball team would have left for Saturday’s conference matchup with Oneonta State.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the answer was not nearly enough as the locals dropped a 65-52 decision at Memorial Hall.
As has been the norm of late, Plattsburgh started out strong but appeared to fade as the game wore on. The Cardinals, led by Brittany Marshall, led by as many as 10 points in the early going but lost the lead and found themselves struggling to keep pace over the final 10 minutes of the opening stanza.
Marshall knotted the contest at 26 with a nifty jumper as the buzzer sounded, ending the opening half.
That was as good as it was going to get for Plattsburgh, however, as the second half belonged entirely to Oneonta. The Red Dragons came out of the locker room hard, opening the second stanza with a 19-9 run and never really allowing the Cardinals back into the game.
“We went hard at the start but, as the game went on, we didn’t seem as energized as they were and just didn’t seem to be have the legs to keep up,” said Cardinals coach Cheryl Cole. “I thought we looked like a tired team out there and just got outhustled and outworked, particularly in the second half, up and down the court.”
Plattsburgh (8-7, 4-4 SUNYAC) managed to pull within five points at 48-43 when Brooke Reifinger nailed a three with 8:28 remaining on the clock. But that was as close as it would get as Oneonta quickly extended the lead back to double digits and coasted to the finish line for its second conference road win in as many days.
The big reason the Cardinals were unable to make a serious run was an offensive draught that saw them connect on just nine-of-34 shots (26.5 percent) in the second half and 18-of-78 (23.1 percent) for the game.
“They just outworked us on the boards and were giving themselves second and third opportunities off the offensive glass,” said Cole. “When you’re struggling to score like we were, you just can’t give the other team that many second and third shots and expect to be successful.”
Another factor that hurt Plattsburgh on Saturday was the fact that it was forced to play without one of its key playmakers. Point guard Catherine Cassidy was injured two games ago, forcing Cole to switch up her guard rotation and re-distribute playing time among several of her younger and less experienced players.
“That was tougher than it might seem,” said Cole, describing the revamping process. “One player out can really have an impact, especially when it’s at the point. People were playing in different packages and some were asked to play a lot more minutes than they were used to.”
A couple of bright spots, on an otherwise pretty dismal afternoon for the Cardinals, was the gutty play of Brooke Reifinger and Marshall.
Reifinger finished with a team-high 17 points, including three threes and Marshall, logging additional minutes due to Cassidy’s absence, added another 16, with four threes, to lead Plattsburgh. The Cardinals’ leading scorer Kathleen Payne drew plenty of attention from the Red Dragons’ defense and was limited to just nine points on three-of-17 shooting (two threes).
The ledger was far more impressive on the Oneonta side of the ball.
Alyshia Crawford led all scorers with 21 points, including three field goals from beyond the arc, Lyteshia Price and Grace Schilling added another 13 points apiece and Sarah Longto chipped in with an outstanding 10-point, 14-rebound double-double to pace an extremely well-balanced attack for the Red Dragons (6-9, 3-5 SUNYAC).
Plattsburgh will now set off on a five-game road trip that will begin this coming Tuesday night (6 p.m.) at Potsdam.
“Right now, we need to take a day or two to get rested up and try and figure this out,” concluded Cole. “Hopefully, we can get Catherine back in the mix, rest up both physically and mentally and get ourselves ready to get back after it and turn this thing around.”
Oneonta 65, Plattsburgh State 52
Oneonta State (65)
Crawford 9-0-21; Price 4-4-13; Schilling 4-5-13; Longto 3-4-10; Loomis 1-0-2; Pappalardo 0-0-0; Mulligan 1-2-4; Cariseo 1-0-2. Totals: 23-15-65.
Plattsburgh State (52)
Marshall 6-0-16; Green 0-0-0; Lloyd 0-0-0; Reifinger 5-4-17; Nucaro 1-2-4; Paul 1-0-2; Payne 3-1-9; Adedapo 0-0-0; Coryea 2-0-4; Lewis 0-0-0. Totals: 18-7-52.
Halftime: Plattsburgh State 26, Oneonta State 26.
3-point field goals: Oneonta (4): Crawford 3; Price. Plattsburgh (9): Marshall 4; Reifinger 3; Payne 2.