---- — CANTON — Prior to the beginning of the 2012-13 season, Plattsburgh State women’s basketball coach Cheryl Cole likened freshman post player Devona Paul to the Energizer Bunny, lauding her tireless work ethic and her ability to get better and better with each passing day.
In Tuesday’s non-conference tilt with St. Lawrence, Paul put truth behind those words by going. And going. And going.
Paul recorded her first collegiate double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds while Kathleen Payne scored a game-high 19 points to help the Cardinals to a lopsided 71-49 victory over the Saints at Burkman Gymnasium.
“We were really happy with what Devona had done in the past two games coming off the bench,” Cole said. “Tonight was more of the same from her. She’s relentless on the boards and put in a ton of effort out there and as a result she had a great game.”
Despite what the lopsided final score indicated, the Cardinals had to play catch-up for the majority of the first half. The Saints, who are the favorite to come out on top in the Liberty League this season, jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead just 1:11 into the contest after a long ball from Kara McDuffee and a mid-range jumper off the hand of Cassie St. Hilaire.
“We knew they could shoot threes,” Cole said. “We needed to take those shots away and also be prepared to slide into the lane to stop the drives to the basket.”
Brittany Marshall registered the first Plattsburgh State points of the game, canning a triple off an assist from Payne before Paul banked home a layup thanks to an assist from Catherine Cassidy.
“Payne went 1-for-12 in the first half,” Cole said. “We needed her to step up and she really did in the second going 6-for-7.”
St. Lawrence was able to build up a lead of four points before Cole summoned Brooke Reifinger from the bench who quickly cut into the four-point deficit with a layup at the 11:08 mark of the opening stanza before taking up residence beyond the arc to break the game wide open.
Reifinger gave the Cardinals their first lead of the evening at 15-14 with her first downtown make of the bout with 6:57 remaining in the initial frame. From there, the Saints would have just one more lead to boast about after Allison Cady converted on a layup on the next trip down the floor.
Misha Green was the recipient of a fine pass from Marshall, and buried a long two-point jumper to give the Cardinals a lead they wouldn’t give up before Reifinger swished two more treys on the next pair of Plattsburgh State possessions to increase the lead to seven.
“Brooke really opened it up for us,” Cole said. “She hit three 3-pointers in a row, after missing a few, to give us a nice lead in the first half.”
As efficient as the Plattsburgh State offense proved to be, the Cardinals’ defensive game gave the Saints fits from the opening tip.
There were few things that could have been considered an easy shot for the Saints, and by the time the first 20 minutes expired the Cardinals had forced the Saints to put up an absolutely frigid field goal percentage of 22.2 percent (6-of-27).
The Cardinals ended the first stanza on a 15-2 run with Marshall tallying six of the final eight points of the half to take a 31-18 lead into the halftime strategy session.
In full control of the game, the Cardinals used an 8-0 run that culminated with a three-ball from Cassidy at the start of the deciding half to take a 39-18 lead.
Plattsburgh State never let its lead dip below 11 points in the deciding frame, improving to 2-1 in the 2012-13 campaign and 2-0 on the road. The Cardinals limited St. Lawrence to a 14-of-58 (24.1 percent) shooting performance from the floor and owned a 55-38 rebounding edge over the opposition.
“We just came out and played tremendous defense,” Cole said. “We got after it and stuck to the game plan. We took the extra pass and made some good plays.”
Plattsburgh State also dished out 20 assists while forcing 19 St. Lawrence turnovers. McDuffee scored a team-high 17 points for the Saints.
“They played as one and it was a great team effort overall” Cole said. “It was really nice to see.”
The Cardinals will begin their 2012-13 SUNYAC schedule on Friday when they make a trip to Oswego State to take on the Lakers. The game is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
Plattsburgh State 71, St. Lawrence 49
Marshall 3-3-10, Green 2-0-4, Paul 2-6-10, Payne7-2-19, Cassidy 2-0-6, Halstead 1-0-2, Pellerin 1-0-2, Lloyd 1-0-2, Reifinger 4-0-11, Hart 0-0-0, Nucaro 2-0-4, Adedapo 0-0-0, Coryea 0-0-0. Totals: 25-12-71.
St. Lawrence (49)
McDuffee 4-6-17, St. Hilaire 2-0-5, Cady 2-2-7, Roberts 0-0-0, Legg 0-4-4, Wilson 1-0-2, Quattrocchi 2-0-5, Hahn 1-0-3, Raue 2-2-6, Murray 0-0-0. Totals: 14-14-49.
Halftime: Plattsburgh, 31-18.
3-point goals: Plattsburgh (9) Marshall, Payne 3, Cassidy 2, Reifinger 3. St. Lawrence (7) McDuffee 3, St. Hilaire, Cady, Quattrocchi, Hahn.