By Tim Pulsifer
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Fresh off one of the biggest road wins in program history, Plattsburgh State’s women’s basketball team returns home this weekend for a pair of key conference matchups against Fredonia and Buffalo State.
The Cardinals, who won for the first time at Cortland last weekend, will be put to the test once again versus two of the better teams in SUNY Athletic Conference.
“We let one get away (versus Oswego) and got a big win at Cortland last weekend, but I don’t think there is any chance we will have any kind of a letdown this weekend,” Plattsburgh coach Cheryl Cole said, reflecting on what’s been accomplished as well as what’s ahead of her young team. “If anything, I think that may have made us even hungrier. We know what kind of an effort that took, and I think everyone understands, in our conference, you need that kind of an effort every time out in order to be successful. You only play everyone twice all year, so every conference game is huge for us. And with the parity in our conference, you just can’t afford to take anything for granted. If you do that, on any given night, whether you’re home or away, you’re going to get beat.”
The Cardinals may have gained some momentum and some much-needed confidence last weekend, but they will likely need to step up their collective games, even a bit higher, if they are to be successful this weekend.
“Every time you play Fredonia, Buffalo State or anyone in our conference, for that matter, you can expect a battle,” Cole said. “With the parity we have in this league, no matter who you’re playing, they’re all tough, physical, close basketball games, and I think it would be a mistake to expect anything less this weekend.”
Recent history tends to support Cole’s assessment. Plattsburgh split its two games versus Fredonia a year ago and was swept, in two highly competitive matchups, by Buffalo State. The Blue Devils and Bengals both struggled a bit last weekend in their conference debuts. Both, however, have talented, experienced rosters.
“Fredonia split and Buffalo State was surprisingly swept in their conference openers last weekend, but I don’t think, you can draw any conclusions from those results,” Cole said. “They are both tough, talented and well-coached teams that are only going to get better. This should be a real test for us, but I think if we can come out focused and ready to play 40 minutes of basketball, we can compete with anyone in our conference and hopefully prove we belong at the next level. We’ll see. I think everyone understands what’s in front of us; It should be very exciting.”
The Cardinals will tip off against the Blue Devils tonight at 6 p.m. and then face the Bengals at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
Note: There will be a special Plattsburgh State alumnae game open to the public at Memorial Hall starting at 11 a.m. Saturday.