By TIM PULSIFER
---- — PLATTSBURGH — There were many positives that came out of last season’s Plattsburgh State women’s basketball season.
After a somewhat slow start, the young Cardinals, led by standouts Kathleen Payne and Brittany Marshall, racked up a respectable total of 10 wins, including a signature overtime victory over defending SUNYAC champion Geneseo and even qualified as a middle of the pack entry in the tournament playoffs.
That said, with a few promising additions and a little improvement in a couple of key areas, Plattsburgh will be looking for bigger and better things this time around.
The Cardinals tip off their 2012-2013 campaign this evening with a nonconference contest at Sage College in Troy.
“We had things going in the right direction last season but, I think, everyone felt with the talent we had, we should have done better,” reflected Plattsburgh coach Cheryl Cole. “We are definitely entering this season feeling we have some unfinished business to take care of.”
When Cole and the coaching staff reviewed last season looking for areas for potential improvement they came up with a short but significant list.
“It was a no brainer, really,” continued Cole. “We knew we were athletic and could score but our Achilles Heel all year was our post defense and our rebounding. The bigger and better teams in our conference just killed us in those two areas and that’s where we’re going to need to get better if we are to get to where we want to be.”
The first step taken to shore things up in the paint started with the recruitment of three promising new players that fit the profile.
The additions of Tequila Lloyd, Misha Green and Devona Paul promises to add some much-needed size and depth to the Cardinals’ roster.
“We knew we needed to get bigger and stronger inside and I think those three new players have the skill base and potential to really help us out there,” Cole said. “Only time will tell but, with the players we have coming back and the addition of those players as well as with the new level of focus on defense and rebounding I think we have the nucleus of a very good team this year.”
A good recruitment class isn’t the only reason for more than just a little cautious optimism. Plattsburgh also returns virtually its entire roster from a year ago, including Payne and Marshall who have already established themselves as elite players in the SUNYAC. Both have made their marks in a major way in the early portion of their respective collegiate careers.
Payne led the SUNYAC in scoring for the majority of her sophomore season on her way to shattering her school’s all-time single-season scoring mark. Marshall, for her part, wasted no time establishing herself as one of the conference’s premiere playmakers and 3-point shooters as just a freshman. Those two, combined with a solid supporting cast, could fuel another solid season for the Cardinals.
“What I really like is the way some of our upperclassmen, especially the seniors, have stepped up,” Cole said. “They’ve come to camp focused and in shape and have already established themselves as leaders on this team. For many of these ladies this is it, they realize it’s time to really step it up and, so far anyways, they’ve done that.”
Plattsburgh will open its 2012-2013 campaign against a Sage squad that just might be out for some measure of revenge.
“That was just a strange game,” said Cole, referring to last year’s somewhat lopsided victory. “It was just one of those nights when everything we put up, no matter who was shooting it, it went in. We just couldn’t miss that night. We shot the ball better that night than we had all year. It was fun but you just can’t expect results like that every night.”
Cole would take another offensive explosion but realistically expects tonight’s matchup to be an entirely different story one year later.
“You can bet that they haven’t forgotten how that felt,” said Cole, referring to last year’s contest. “It’s a new season and they are going to be at home. I am definitely expecting a battle. Hopefully, we can match their energy and intensity, especially early on and get our season off to a good start.”
After tonight’s nonconference opener, Plattsburgh will face Middlebury College a week from Sunday in its home opener at Memorial Hall.
Plattsburgh State University Cardinals 2012-2013
Women's Basketball Roster
No. Name Pos. Cl. Ht. Hometown High School
10 Brittany Marshall G So. 5-5 Malone, NY Franklin Academy
11 Tassica Halstead G Jr. 5-3 Bronx, NY Cathedral
12 Misha Green G/F So. 5-7 New Rochelle New Rochelle HS
13 Jade Pellerin G Jr. 5-5 Cadyville Saranac
14 Audrey Hughes G Fr. 5-8 Troy Catholic Central
15 Tequilla Lloyd F Jr. 5-10 Wingdale Dover HS
20 Brooke Reifinger G Jr. 5-7 Oswego Oswego
21 Devona Paul F Fr. 6-0 Blauvelt Tappen Zee HS
22 Jalen Hart F So. 5-11 Bronx Monsignor Scanlon
23 Kathleen Payne F Jr. 5-8 Goshen Goshen
24 Catherine Cassidy G Sr. 5-5 Brooklyn Bishop Ford
25 Dana Nacaro G Sr. 5-9 Vahalla Vahalla
32 Ayomide Adelapo G So. 5-7 Staten Island Curtis HS
33 Johni Coryea G Sr. 5-6 Rouses Point NCCS
55 Yazmin Lewis F So. 5-10 Milton Marlboro
Head Coach: Cheryl Cole
Associate Coach: Whitney Edwards
Manager: Queen Odedere