Potsdam, NY - Never trailing in the contest, the Clarkson University Women's Basketball team nevertheless needed a 3-pointer and free throw from freshman Stephanie Grobe (White River Junction, VT) in the final minute to gain a 59-55 win over crosstown rival Potsdam State on Tuesday evening at Alumni Gymnasium.
The Golden Knights improved to 4-2 overall with their second straight victory, while Potsdam fell to 2-2 on the season. Clarkson will finish out the first half of the season with games at Elmira (Saturday, December 7th) and SUNY Canton (Saturday, December 14th).
Clarkson jumped out to a five-point lead in the early going only to see the advantage diminish. However, a theme would start in the contest from that point as sophomore Isabella Esposito (Essex, VT) nailed a 3-pointer on the next possession to regain the lead for Clarkson. A similar situation would come a few moments later as Clarkson's lead fell to a basket, but another 3-pointer from Esposito sparked a 12-4 run that pushed the Knights to a 10-point lead (26-16). Just as Potsdam began to make a run, Jovanna Snead (Poughkeepsie, NY) buried a 3-pointer from the corner and again the Knights held off the Bears, heading into the locker room with a 12-point lead, 32-20.
Clarkson led in the majority of categories at the break, outrebounding the Bears (20-13) and making five 3-pointers to Potsdam's one.
The Bears would step up their defensive intensity in the second half and slowly cut into Clarkson's lead. Down by just a basket (50-48) late in the half, a 3-pointer from the top of the key by Cara Manfredi (Glastonbury, CT) helped the Knights back to a five-point lead, but Potsdam simply would not go away, tying the game at 55-55 with two-plus minutes remaining. That would be all the Bears could muster offensively, but Clarkson wasn't getting the shots to fall either until freshman Stephanie Grobe buried a 3-pointer close to the Knights bench with 37 seconds to go to give the Knights a 58-55 lead. Potsdam's attempts to tie the contest came up short, and Grobe hit a free throw with 11 seconds remaining to make the contest a two-possession game.
Manfredi started slow, but finished with 14 points, four rebounds, and four assists to lead the Knights. Esposito chipped in 10 points and Brooke Butkovsky (Monroe, CT) had seven points and nine rebounds. Ashley Loggins (Albany, NY) tossed in nine points and contributed three steals as well.
For Potsdam, Jessica Kouzan and Chenice Russell each scored 12 points. Kouzan made four steals, while Russell added a team-high seven boards. Bailey Weigel also produced eight points, five assists and a pair of blocks for the Bears.