Women’s Hoop: Fast Start Carries Cardinals Past Cadets 61-47

Courtesy Plattsburgh Sports Information

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – The Plattsburgh State women’s basketball team rode a fast start in the first quarter to a 61-47 season-opening victory over non-conference Norwich University on Tuesday evening at Memorial Hall.

The Cardinals shot at a 53.3 percent (8-of-15) clip from the floor in the opening stanza to open up a 26-15 lead through 10 minutes of play. That ended up being the difference, as Plattsburgh State outscored Norwich by a slight 35-32 margin the rest of the way.

Plattsburgh State rises to 1-0 with the win and opens up its annual Cardinal Classic on Saturday, Nov. 19, with a 6 p.m. encounter with Southern Vermont College. Norwich drops to 0-1 with the loss and next takes on Bates College on Friday, Nov. 18, at 5 p.m. in Brunswick, Maine.

After Norwich drew within 7-4 with 6:35 left in the first quarter, Plattsburgh State extended the advantage to nine off a pair of 3-pointers by sophomore guard Bella DePasquale (Ardsley, N.Y./Ardsley). The Cadets made it a seven-point game with a pair of made free throws until senior guard Monique Jones (Freeport, N.Y./Freeport) single-handedly swelled the lead to 12, knocking down a pair of free throws before forcing a turnover and converting on an old-fashioned 3-point play. The two teams traded points until a modest 5-0 run handed the Cardinals a 26-11 edge with 1:09 left in the first period. Norwich scored twice in the final minute of play in the stanza to pull within 26-15.

The two teams traded points in the early goings of the second quarter until a 5-0 Norwich spurt, capped off by an old-fashioned 3-point play by junior forward/guard Arianna Harrison, drew the Cadets with single digits. Baskets on back-to-back possessions handed the Cardinals a 34-22 advantage, and after a Cadet field goal, Jones cashed in on a layup with 50 seconds to go in the second quarter to spell the halftime score of 36-24.

Six straight points coming out of the halftime intermission staked Plattsburgh State to a 41-24 cushion, but Norwich battled back to make it a 10-point game (41-31) with seven unanswered points. The Cardinals ballooned the lead back up to 15 late in the third quarter, and a Cadet free throw with one second left in the period provided the score of 51-37 heading into the final stanza.

After nearly two scoreless minutes to start the third, freshman guard Brooke Benna (Oakland, N.J./Indian Hills) buried a jumper, and she scored once again two minutes later to hand the Cardinals their largest lead of the night—55-37—with 6:08 remaining in regulation. While Norwich closed out the contest on a 10-6 run, the gap proved too large to overcome, and Plattsburgh State emerged with the win.

The Cardinals shot 36.8 percent (21-of-57) from the floor on the game and knocked down 88.2 percent (15-of-17) of their free-throw shots. Norwich finished with a 40-34 margin in rebounds, while Plattsburgh State scored 25 points off 19 Cadet turnovers.

Freshman forward Frannie Merkel (Brewster, N.Y./Brewster) notched a double-double in her first intercollegiate contest, scoring 11 points and pulling down 13 rebounds. Merkel also finished with three blocks, two steals and an assist in her 26 minutes of action. Jones netted a game-high-tying 14 points in just 19 minutes played in the first half.

For Norwich, senior forward Heather LeBlanc led the way with a double-double (14 points, 13 rebounds), while Harrison also reached double figures with 10 points.