ONEONTA — Although the final score didn’t indicate it, it went down to the wire between two top teams in the SUNY Athletic Conference Saturday.
“(We) played far better than we did (Friday),” Plattsburgh State women’s basketball coach Cheryl Cole said. “Defensively, we played a tremendous game.”
It was a back-and-forth matchup between the Cardinals (10-3, 5-1) and Oneonta, but Plattsburgh managed to gain an 11-point advantage in the final four minutes, which was enough of a cushion to maintain the lead. The Cardinals then iced the game with clutch free throws by Brittany Marshall to finalize the 70-59 victory.
“In the second half, our offense opened up and we also did a great job in the second half taking care of business from the foul line,” Cole said.
Both teams held their own defensively, forcing a combined 42 turnovers in the game, but the Cardinals outrebounded the Red Dragons (11-3, 5-2) 46-39 and shot slightly better from the floor at 35.6 percent versus Oneonta’s 31.7 percent.
“We were getting beat on the boards at halftime, (but I) thought we made great adjustments and just outworked them in the second half,” Cole said. “They’re a tough defensive team; we had to work for everything.”
Kathleen Payne, once again, had a fantastic performance for Plattsburgh as she tied her season-high with 28 points, including three boards, three steals, one assist and one block.
Marshall was second in scoring for the Cardinals, finishing with 13 points, including 10-for-10 from the free throw line. Marshall also pulled down six rebounds, six assists and one steal. Brooke Reifinger had one of her best outings for Plattsburgh this season, recording 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting and also had seven rebounds, one assist and one steal.
“(Payne) had a heck of a game,” Cole said. “Brooke played some great defense; we definitely frustrated their backcourt.”