PLATTSBURGH — The upcoming season for the Plattsburgh State women’s basketball team is filled with the highest expectations the team has ever faced.
The Cardinals are coming off a season where they reached the SUNYAC semifinals for only the second time in the program’s history. This season Plattsburgh is not just looking for another SUNYAC Tournament appearance, but are set to make a run at a championship title.
“Our goal is to be SUNYAC champions,” Cardinals coach Cheryl Cole said.
Plattsburgh only graduated two seniors from last year’s squad and the core nucleus is back for the upcoming season.
“We brought back the majority of the team. Most of our statistical players have improved and we have brought in a few recruits that have potential,” Cole said. “I think we’re deeper, with more weapons. If we play with the philosophy (of trying to find) the best shot on the floor, I think we’ll be able to surpass what we did last season.”
The Cardinals are led by seniors, Kathleen Payne, Brooke Reifinger and Tequilla Lloyd.
Payne and Reifinger are both four-year players for the Cardinals and will be starting at small forward and shooting guard, respectively. Lloyd is a junior transfer from SUNY Delhi and will be starting at center.
“The experience is very high for our seniors,” Cole said. “With their experience, their constant effort day in and day out, on and off the floor, they know what it’s all about.”
Payne was named preseason All-American by Women’s DIII News. She averaged 15 points , 6.9 rebounds and just fewer than two steals per game a year ago.
“She’s a ridiculous athlete; best player in the conference hands down,” Cole said. “With that being said, it doesn’t mean anything on the floor.
“We don’t need anything more from her than doing what she does. The last thing she needs is to put more pressure on herself. She’s tremendously gifted.”
Junior Brittany Marshall will be handling the starting point-guard duties, while junior Misha Green completes the starting rotation at power forward.
“We have kids who are highly experienced,” Cole said. “Everyday is a work in progress. Our goal everyday is to be better every time we walk on to the floor. I’m confident in the potential of my team.”
Plattsburgh brought in a few new faces to its roster, who Cole called “explosive kids” and said will be pushing for playing time.
Stephanie Linder, who played locally at Saranac High School, is one of the new faces for the Cardinals. Linder played her freshman season at Castleton State College before transferring to Plattsburgh State this year.
“(We’re) happy to have her,” Cole said. “She fits in offensively and defensively. (She has) a high IQ and fits with the personnel we have in our system.”
The other first-year Cardinal set to make an impact is freshman Jax Miller. Miller graduated from Argyle Central School last year and led the Scots to two Section II championships.
Cole looks to use Miller as a backup point guard to Marshall.
“For a freshman, (she) is tremendously composed, confident and capable,” Cole said. “She knows our stuff inside and out. She has deep range and is a scoring threat.”
Plattsburgh ended last year with a four-point loss to eventual SUNYAC champion New Paltz. However, Cole doesn’t believe the Hawks are the team to beat in the conference this season.
“(We’re) really looking forward to play New Paltz, (which) was the only team last year we didn’t beat (at least once),” Cole said. “That game has a lot of meaning for us. They took away something we wanted and we have the desire to come out against them.
“In my personal opinion, (Geneseo is) the most talented team coming back. They’re the team to beat and I think New Paltz is the team we need to beat for our own personal satisfaction.”
Plattsburgh averaged almost 62 points per game, while holding their opponents average to 57 points per game. The Cardinals were second in the conference in rebounding, averaging nearly 46 boards a contest.
“We want to be the best rebounding team in the conference,” Cole said. “Last year our transitions from defense created a lot of our offense. We can be just as good, if not better.”
The Cardinals kick off their season this weekend, as they head to Massachusetts to take on Williams College on Saturday and Wesleyan University Sunday.
“We have a tough nonconference schedule,” Cole said. “Being tested early is really going to tell us a lot about ourselves and prepare us for our conference.”
Cole’s goal overall is to win their conference, however she is not making the mistake of looking ahead.
“One game at a time,” Cole said. “(We’re) more focused on day to day, game to game, who we’re playing is the most important team. If you don’t prepare that way things might slip up. (We) must be prepared each night.”Plattsburgh State women's basketball 2013-2014 roster 10- Brittany Marshall, 5-5, junior guard, Malone, N.Y 11- Shanielle Chambers, 5-7, freshman guard, Potsdam, N.Y 12- Misha Green, 5-8, junior guard/forward, New Rochelle, N.Y 13- Brittany Hicks, 5-6, freshman guard, North Babylon, N.Y 14- Audrey Hughes, 5-8, sophomore guard, Troy, N.Y 20- Brooke Reifinger, 5-8, senior guard, Oswego, N.Y 21- Devona Paul, 6-0, sophomore forward, Blauvelt, N.Y 22- Taylor Whyte, 6-1, junior forward, Ballston Spa, N.Y 23- Kathleen Payne, 5-9, senior guard/forward, Goshen, N.Y 24- Tequilla Lloyd, 6-0, senior forward, Wingdale, N.Y 25- Ayomide Adedapo, 5-7, junior guard, Staten Island, N.Y 30- Jessica Dolan, freshman, 5-11, forward, Orangeburg, N.Y 32- Stephanie Linder, 5-10, sophomore guard/forward, Cadyville, N.Y 33- Jax Miller, 5-5, freshman guard, Argyle, N.Y 55- Yazmin Lewis, 5-10, junior forward, Milton N.Y Head coach: Cheryl Cole Associate head coach: Ben Sarraf ___ 2013-2014 schedule Saturday, Nov. 16- (North Adams, Mass) vs. Williams College, 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17- (Williamstown, Mass) vs. Wesleyan College, 1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19- St. Lawrence University, 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23- Morrisville State College, 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3- Norwich University, 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6- at Oswego State, 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7- at Cortland State, 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7- at Middlebury College, 5:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10- SUNY Geneseo, 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11- The College at Brockport, 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17- at New Paltz State, 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18- at Oneonta State, 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21- SUNY Potsdam, 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24- at Buffalo State, 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25- at Fredonia State, 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31- Oneonta State, 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1- New Paltz State, 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7- The College at Brockport, 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8- at SUNY Geneseo, 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14- SUNY Cortland, 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15- Oswego State, 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18- SUNY Potsdam, 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21- Fredonia State University, 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22- Buffalo State, 2 p.m.