By TIM PULSIFER
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Don’t look now, but Plattsburgh State may be one of most dangerous teams entering the upcoming SUNY Athletic Conference women’s basketball tournament.
The Cardinals are a red-hot team right now, playing outstanding basketball with a great deal of confidence and peaking at just the right time.
Plattsburgh (14-11, 10-8 SUNYAC) made it five-straight wins at home, wrapping up its regular season with a dominating 65-47 victory over a very good Oswego team at Memorial Hall Saturday afternoon.
The Cardinals, who qualified for the SUNYAC tourney with a 72-60 win over Cortland on Friday night, put together another strong performance, particularly in the second half, in a one-sided win on Senior Day.
The first half was a battle of runs, with Plattsburgh leading by as many as 10 early on, only to see the advantage whittled down to just a field goal (29-27) by the break.
That was as tight as things would get, however, as the second half belonged entirely to the Cardinals.
Plattsburgh opened the half with an 11-0 run and extended the lead to as many as 22 points before clearing the bench down the stretch. The key to the Cardinals’ success in the second half was superior execution and energy at both ends of the floor.
“What a great way to end our regular season,” said Plattsburgh coach Cheryl Cole. “I think, everyone really stepped up and gave great effort, but what really stood out for me today was our conditioning. I know they were short a couple players and their bench wasn’t very deep, but I think, especially in the second half, we just wore them down.
“By the end, it was obvious who had the fresher legs out there and I think that was really the biggest difference in the game.”
As has been the norm of late, the Cardinals continued to get quality contributions from a number of players.
Brittany Marshall had a major bounce back game, pouring in a game-high 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting and Kathleen Payne continued her outstanding play with a 15-point, including 13 in the decisive second half, 10-rebound, double-double.
First-year players Devonna Paul, Misha Green and Tequilla Lloyd also each turned in solid efforts for the Cardinals. As a team, Plattsburgh shot 50 percent from the field in the second half and 40 percent from the field.
Oswego (17-8, 11-7 SUNYAC) , which will be the third seed in the upcoming SUNYAC tourney, was led by sharpshooting Lauren Nunziato. Nunziato was 3-of-5 from 3-point range and finished with a team-high 13 points. However, she was the only player to hit for double figures for the Lakers.
Another area where Plattsburgh shined was on defense. The Cardinals defense made its presence felt in a big way, limiting their opponent to just 37 percent on 19-of-51 shooting from the field and also turned them over 26 times for the game.
Saturday marked the final home game for three Plattsburgh State players. Dana Nucaro, Catherine Cassidy and Johnni Coryea were each recognized, along with their parents, for their contributions to the program in a special ceremony prior to tipoff.
Plattsburgh will next see action competing in the opening round of the SUNY Athletic Conference tournament this Tuesday night.
Plattsburgh 65, Oswego 47
Robbins 2-0-5, Egelston 4-0-8, Kleine 1-3-6, Stover 3-0-6, Nunziato 5-0-13, Sorell 1-0-3, Birchall 0-0-0, Hansen 1-0-2, Smith 1-0-2, Gillard 1-0-2. Totals: 19-3-47.
Marshall 8-2-19, Payne 7-0-15, Cassidy 2-0-5, Coryea 1-0-2, Green 1-0-2, Hughes 0-0-0, Paul 3-2-8, Lloyd 3-0-6, Reifinger 0-2-2, Hart 0-0-0, Adedapo 1-0-2, Lewis 1-0-2. Totals: 28-6-65.
Halftime: Plattsburgh 29, Oswego 27.
3-point goals: Oswego (6): Nunziato 3; Kleine; Sorell; Robbins. Plattsburgh (3): Marshall; Payne; Cassidy.