---- — CORTLAND — To say Plattsburgh State’s women’s basketball team hasn’t had much success playing at Cortland over the years might just be a bit of an understatement.
In fact, in their program’s history, the Cardinals had never claimed a victory over the Red Dragons at Corey Gymnasium.
That all changed however, as Plattsburgh played inspired basketball, jumped out on top early and then held on to claim a dramatic 59-57 win over Cortland Saturday afternoon.
“This was just an awesome effort,” Plattsburgh State coach Cheryl Cole said. “We really needed this. It got a little hairy at the end, but this team just kept digging down deep and battling. I couldn’t be any prouder. This was just a great team effort and a huge win over a very good Cortland team.”
Less than 24 hours after falling 56-48 at Oswego, the Cardinals put together a gritty, potentially-season defining performance against one of the conference’s elite teams.
Showing no signs of tired legs or hangover from Friday night’s contest, Plattsburgh opened the game with a 9-5 run, connecting on its first four field-goal attempts from the field and extended its advantage to 31-22 by the break.
The Cardinals were forced to stave off numerous runs by the Red Dragons after halftime but in the end refused to let the game get away.
Plattsburgh appeared to be in control, extending its advantage to 11 points at 57-46 with just 2:41 to play when Cortland staged one last run. The Red Dragons whittled away at the deficit but came up just short when Brittany Rando’s 3-point try rattled off the rim at the buzzer.
“It was nerve-wracking,” Cole said. “I thought we were in good shape, but we just kept missing the front ends of our one-and-ones, allowing them to cut into the lead. In the end, though, we were able to gut it out and survive. It wasn’t easy, but in our conference, you have to find a way in games like this, especially on the road. And today we did that.”
Kathleen Payne and Tequilla Lloyd both turned in outstanding individual performances, combining for the final 16 points of the game, for the Cardinals.
Payne finished with a game-high 20 points, including three 3-pointers, and pulled down a team-high seven boards. Lloyd added another 16 points in by far her most impressive effort of the young season.
“KP got beat up pretty good, but she just kept battling all the way,” Cole said. “As for Tequilla, they had no answer for her and couldn’t stop her inside. They both played great for us but, we needed everyone to contribute today for us to be successful and they all really answered the bell. It was just a great team effort and something we can really build on.”
Plattsburgh was solid on both sides of the ball throughout the game.
The Cardinals limited the Red Dragons to just 21-of-58 attempts from the field (36 percent) and connected on 24-of-53 field goal attempts (45 percent), including six of 12 (50 percent) from 3-point land, for the game.
Megan Touey netted a team-high 16 points, and Lindsay Minor chipped in with another 12, to pace Cortland (3-3, 1-1 SUNYAC).
Plattsburgh (3-2, 1-1) will now face Fredonia next Friday night and then Buffalo State next Saturday afternoon at Memorial Hall.
Plattsburgh State 59, Cortland 57
Plattsburgh State (59)
Payne 7-3-20; Cassidy 3-0-7; Marshall 3-0-7; Nucaro 2-0-4; Green 0-0-0; Lloyd 7-2-16; Reifinger 1-0-3; Coryea 1-0-2; Lewis 0-0-0; Adedapo 0-0-0; Pellerin 0-0-0; Paul 0-0-0. Totals: 24-5-59.
Touey 5-4-16; Minor 5-0-12; Walstenholme 4-0-8; Williamson 3-1-7; Rando 1-2-4; DeMarco 2-2-6; Seger 0-2-2; Cohen 1-0-2; Morris 0-0-0; Craft 0-0-0; White 0-0-0. Totals: 21-11-57.
3-point goals: Plattsburgh (6), Payne 3; Cassidy; Reifinger; Marshall. SUNY Cortland (4) Manor 2; Touey 2.
Halftime: Plattsburgh 31, Cortland 22.