By Tim Pulsifer
---- — Playing well and winnning on the road in a hostile environment is never an easy thing to do.
Not in college basketball or in any sport, for that matter.
That is exactly what the Plattsburgh State women’s basketball squad will be looking to do as SUNY Athletic Conference play gets under way this weekend at Oswego and Cortland.
The Cardinals tip off their 2012-2013 SUNYAC schedule tonight against the Lakers and then move on to face the Red Dragons tomorrow afternoon.
It’s still very early, but the stakes are already plenty high as everyone enters a new season with high hopes and a clean slate. It is still November but ...
“This is a huge weekend for us,” Plattsburgh coach Cheryl Cole said. “We’re very excited about this. We’ve had a few nonconference games to get ready, and all-in-all I’ve been pretty pleased with what I’ve seen so far. But now it’s time to get into our conference schedule and find out what we’re really made of.”
This weekend could tell quite a bit as Plattsburgh faces a couple of teams it has come to know very well.
“We see everyone in our conference at least twice a year, so it’s not like you don’t know their tendencies, what they like to do,” Cole said. “That said, everyone has personnel changes from season to season, so it can be pretty hard to prepare sometimes, especially this early on.”
There are always more questions than answers at the start of any new season, but if recent history is any indicator, both of this weekend’s contests figure to be very competitive, hotly-contested basketball games.
“We did play both teams pretty close last year, losing a couple of very close games, one heartbreaker at home, against Cortland, and we split with Oswego. so we know we match up pretty well,” she added. “All that won’t matter if we don’t play well this weekend. We just need to build on what we’ve started here and play good fundamentally-sound basketball, especially on defense. I think, in both games, whichever team executes the best on both sides of the ball will be the ones who will be successful. Hopefully, that will be us. We’re definitely looking forward to the challenge.”
Kathleen Payne, Brittany Marshall, Brooke Reifinger and Dana Nucaro all have looked good thus far as have a solid mix of veterans and promising newcomers to the roster. All will need to grow as players and contribute big things if the Cardinals are to build upon their 10-15 season of a year ago.
Plattsburgh enters conference play 2-1 on the year. The Cardinals, led by Payne’s 19-point performance, are coming off their most impressive outing thus far, a 71-49 victory at St. Lawrence University this past Tuesday night. Their lone loss was a hard-fought 81-73 decision to Middlebury at Memorial Hall last Sunday.