By Tim Pulsifer
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh State took visiting New Paltz to the absolute limit before dropping a heartbreaking 75-71 decision in overtime in SUNY Athletic Conference women’s basketball Friday at Memorial Hall.
The Cardinals gave the conference-leading and unbeaten Hawks a scare.
“This was a tough one,” Plattsburgh coach Cheryl Cole said. “We were up against the best team in our conference and took them right to the wire and really had several opportunities to win. We just couldn’t quite make the plays and knock down the shots at those critical points. This game really was that close.
The Cardinals (8-6, 4-3 SUNYAC) host Oneonta at 2 p.m. today.
Plattsburgh jumped on top early Friday and led throughout most of regulation. The Cardinals distributed and shot the ball extremely well and played outstanding team defense, taking a 31-24 advantage at the break.
New Paltz (13-0, 7-0 SUNYAC) rallied in the second half, however, and pulled even with just under 11 minutes remaining. From there, it was back and forth for the balance of regulation, with both teams narrowly missing opportunities to seal the victory down the stretch.
Down one, the Cardinals tied the game at 65 when Dana Nucaro made 1-of-2 from the line with just 10 ticks left on the clock. The Hawks then narrowly missed winning the game in regulation when Maliqua Fisher’s drive off the left elbow barely rimmed out at the buzzer.
Overtime was more of the same drama as play went back and forth until Alex McCullough finally nailed a key 3-pointer with just over two minutes remaining in the extra period. Plattsburgh kept it a one-possession game until the very end.
The Cardinals had one final opportunity to either win or extend the game inside the final 10 seconds of overtime but failed to convert when Brittany Marshall lost the handle attempting to penetrate the interior of the Hawks’ defense. The ensuing scramble and foul sent McCullough to the line for the final two points of the night. McCullough, who connected on all five of her free-throw attempts, finished with a game-high 18 points and 14 boards to lead the Hawks to their 13th win in as many tries.
“It’s disappointing not to win, but it’s hard to find fault with anything we did (Friday),” Cole said. “We played hard for 45 minutes and put ourselves in a position where we could have very easily won this game. We didn’t quite finish, but we proved what we were capable of and left it all on the floor tonight. We didn’t get the W, but we were right there with them til the end and I was very proud of our effort.”
Marshall paced a balanced Plattsburgh attack with a team-high 16 points, including three 3-pointers. Nucaro added an outstanding 13-point, 13-rebound double-double performance, and Tequilla Lloyd (11 points), Kathleen Payne (11 points) and Misha Green (10 points) also all reached double digits.
The Hawks also received contributions from multiple players. In addition to McCullough’s big performance, Michelle Valle (13 points, 11 rebounds), Kahsyrah Bryant (13 points, 12 rebounds), Alyssa Gratien (11 points, three 3-pointers) and Fisher (10 points) also all had a big impact for the winners.
New Paltz 75,
Platttsburgh State 71 (OT)
New Paltz (75)
Walker 0-1-1; Fisher 4-2-10; Bryant 4-5-13; Scott 1-0-2; McCullough 6-5-18; Gratien 4-0-11; Harrison 1-0-2; Mansdorf 1-0-2; Valle 2-9-13; Rivera 1-0-3. Totals: 24-22-75.
Marshall 6-1-16; Green 2-6-10; Lloyd 5-1-11; Reifinger 1-2-4; Nucaro 2-5-13; Paul 2-2-6; Payne 4-3-11; Adedapo 0-0-0; Lewis 0-0-0. Totals: 24-20-71.
Halftime: Plattsburgh 31, New Paltz 24.
3-point goals: New Paltz (5), Gratien 3, McCullough, Rivera. Plattsburgh (3), Marshall 3.