By TIM PULSIFER
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Middlebury College spoiled Plattsburgh State’s 2012-2013 home opener with a hard-fought 81-73 victory in women’s basketball action played at Memorial Hall Sunday afternoon.
After a somewhat low-scoring first half, the Panthers exploded for 51 points after the break to secure the non-conference decision.
It took nearly five minutes for the visitors to put points on the board but they got things going. They were next to unstoppable, most notably from the perimeter and the foul line.
As a team Middlebury connected on 27-of-59 shot attempts (45.8%) for the game, including a remarkable nine-of-19 (47.4%) from downtown. The Panthers also made good on 18-of-23 (78.3%) tries from the line.
Sarah Marcus and Tracy Borsinger both turned in outstanding individual offensive performances for Middlebury (2-2).
Marcus was eight-for-13 from the field, with three of her buckets coming from beyond the arc for 21 points and Borsinger was a perfect five-for-five from the line and chipped in with 20 points to pace the Panthers.
Brittany Marshall answered with a game-high 21 points and Kathleen Payne (12 points) and Tequilla Lloyd (10 points) each added double-digit performances for the Cardinals (1-1).
Sunday’s contest was back-and-forth with seven lead changes as neither team boasted a double-digit lead at any point. But, in the end, the game was decided by Plattsburgh’s inability to slow down Middlebury in the second half.
“We started out pretty well but as the game wore on, we just didn’t play fundamentally sound defense,” said Cardinals head coach Cheryl Cole. “We were just giving them way too many open looks and were making too many mistakes and a team like that is going to make you pay for it.
“Overall, we just didn’t play the kind of basketball we’re capable of playing, particularly on defense. You just can’t give up 51 points in a half and expect to win, that’s just not going to happen. It’s a little disappointing right now but we will learn from this and we will get better.”
Despite the outcome, the news was not all bad for Plattsburgh.The Cardinals did show considerable grit digging their way out of an eight-point hole late in the second half to pull even at 68 with just 1:49 remaining on the clock.
That was as good as it would get for Plattsburg. But the rally did speak well to the character of a still very young team. Another positive that came out of the game was the play of several newcomers to the roster. Misha Green, Devona Paul and Lloyd all played well and contributed quality minutes in their home debuts for the Cardinals.
“I was very happy with that,” said Cole. “They worked hard, brought some energy and intensity to the floor and really did a lot of good things out there, particularly on the boards.”
Plattsburgh travels to St. Lawrence for another non-conference matchup Tuesday night before opening its SUNYAC ledger at Oswego and Cortland next weekend.
Middlebury 81, Plattsburgh 73
Ritter 1-4-7, Borsinger 7-4-20, Lowry 2-0-6, Marcus 8-2-21, Crews 2-0-4, Kelly 3-2-9, Kirk 2-1-5, Conroy 0-0-0, Pett 2-4-9, Miller 0-0-0. Totals: 27-18-81.
Marshall 7-5-21, Reifinger 2-3-8, Payne 6-0-12, CassIdy 1-5-7, Nucaro 2-2-6, Halstead 0-0-0, Green 1-0-2, Lloyd 5-0-10, Paul 1-5-7, Coryea 0-0-0. Totals: 25-20-73.
3-point goals: Middlebury (9): Marcus 3; Borsinger 2; Lowry 2; Kelly; Pett. Plattsburgh (3): Marshall 2; Reifinger.