PLATTSBURGH — For the better part of the second semester, the Plattsburgh State women’s basketball team had been looking for that one signature performance against one of the best teams in the conference.
On Saturday afternoon they got just that, coming from behind to stun SUNY Athletic Conference power Geneseo, 53-49, at Memorial Hall.
Simply put, Plattsburgh knocked off one the best teams in the conference by playing two halves of superior team defense.
The Cardinal defense forced 26 turnovers and limited the highest scoring team in the conference, averaging 67.5 points per game entering this weekend’s play, to a season-low 49 points on just 17-of-51 shooting (33%).
“This was a huge win for us, just huge,” Plattsburgh coach Cheryl Cole said. “We turned them over 26 times, executed our game plan on defense to a tee and stuck to it for 40 minutes and that’s why we won the game.”
The Cardinal defense was the primary story on Saturday afternoon but, it did not hurt to have a player the caliber of Kathleen Payne on their side either.
Payne, who was limited to five points in the opening half, took over late in the second stanza and finished with a team-high 17 points, including several clutch buckets down the stretch when the game stood in the balance to lead Plattsburgh.
Payne finished 3-for-5 from 3-point range for the game, including a clutch dagger as the shot clock wound down late in the second half. The Goshen standout also pulled down a game-high seven rebounds against a much taller opponent.
“KP just had an outstanding all-around game,” Cole said. “There are players who want the ball in those type of pressure situations and KP is just one of those players. She wants the ball in those situations. She’s been that way all her career here and really stepped up for us again (Saturday).”