The challenge for the SUNY Potsdam women's basketball team was traveling to Plattsburgh on Tuesday evening to take on a hot Cardinals team that had won five consecutive games and had been undefeated on its home floor this season.
Things got off to a positive start for the Bears as senior forward Jessica Kouzan (Webster, N.Y. / Webster-Schroeder) knocked down a 3-pointer to give Potsdam the first basket of the game.
But, Plattsburgh promptly responded with a decisive 17-4 run over the next six and a half minutes to set the tone for the game. The Cardinals led by 16 by halftime and went on to win 79-54 at Memorial Hall behind a huge edge in free throws attempted and offensive rebounds.
Plattsburgh (11-3 overall, 6-1 tied for first place in SUNYAC) took 17 more free throws (27-10) and outrebounded Potsdam by a margin of 11 on the offensive glass (21-10). Eight different Cardinal players shot at least a pair from the charity stripe while only three players from the Bears had the same opportunity.
Sophomore forward Devona Paul shot 6-of-12 from the field for 16 points, five rebounds, five blocks and two steals in just 20 minutes of action. Senior guard Brooke Reifinger scored 14 points while reigning SUNYAC women's basketball Player of the Week Kathleen Payne had 12 points, six rebounds and three steals.
Potsdam (4-10 overall, 2-5 SUNYAC) began to get their offense more in gear in the second half by nearly doubling their point total from the first half. The Bears cut the lead to 14 on junior guard Carli Reynolds' (Indian Lake, N.Y. / Indian Lake) layup that made it 45-31 with 13:32 to play.
But, the Cardinals came right back with a 3-pointer by Reifinger, a jumper from Stephanie Linder and a pair of free throws from Tequilla Lloyd that capped a 7-2 run and pushed the lead up to 19.
Kouzan put together another fine performance by shooting 7-of-16 from the field including 3-of-7 from beyond the arc and 2-for-2 from the line to finish with game highs of 19 points and 11 rebounds.
Reynolds played a season-high 29 minutes and poured in 13 points on 6-of-13 shooting with three rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot. It's her second-highest point total of the season. She scored 14 points against Williams College in the Daytona Beach Shootout.
Senior guard Hannah Kmiecinski (Webster, N.Y. / Webster Thomas) connected on 3-of-5 from long range to finish with nine points.
Many of the other Bears struggled to find their range. Bailey Weigel, Chenice Russell, Meghan Driscoll and Daronda Addison combined to shoot 0-for-18 from the floor including 0-for-7 from 3-point range. Weigel was efficient in other areas by compiling five rebounds, five assists, two steals and a blocked shot.
Potsdam will return to the court on Friday at Fredonia. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.