PLATTSBURGH — Clinton Community College women’s basketball coach Donna Dixon had a game plan that only she and her team believed would dethrone the No. 2 team in the country Saturday.
To their credit, it paid off.
The Cougars (8-6), who received a combined 24 points from Alisha Ducatte and Jessica Decker, collected a huge 55-52 upset win in NJCAA play.
“We accomplished what we set out to do — stop them in transition, rebound, take care of the basketball and execute our offense,” Dixon said. “We did that well enough to win the game.”
Entering the contest, the Hawks (16-2) averaged 76 points per game, but Clinton was able to limit second-chance scoring opportunities and hold Mohawk Valley to 19 first-half points, for a 5-point lead at the break.
“Defensively, we played real hard,” Dixon said. “Mohawk had a lot of contested shots with someone’s hand in their face. We were diving on loose balls and had a lot of intensity throughout.”
The Cougars held the upper hand for a majority of the contest, but Mohawk Valley took its first lead with 1:41 remaining in the second half, going up 52-51. But 43 seconds later, Clinton sophomore Katrina Garrand made a layup to regain the lead.
After exchanging possessions, Garrand helped extend the differential to three points by dribbling past three defenders and hitting Decker in the low block for a 2-point play.
Mohawk Valley had what Dixon called a “decent look” to tie the game from the perimeter with three seconds left, but leading scorer Shaniece Brown’s shot rimmed out.
“We’re a young a ballclub,” Dixon said. “They had the height advantage in the paint and a deep bench, but when they made a couple runs, we were able to answer. It was a great game and a quality win.”
Katelyn Gates grabbed six rebounds to go along with nine points, while Decker added 10 points and totaled six boards. Garrand finished with eight points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals.