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SUNY Potsdam, Clarkson women’s basketball teams surge to non-league wins

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POTSDAM - The SUNY Potsdam women’s basketball relayed defensive pressure into offensive success in notching a 79-42 non-league decision over Route 11 Division III rival SUNY Canton at the Jerry Welsh Gymnasium on Tuesday.

The Bears, who have already doubled their win output from last year with their second straight victory to open the 2013-14 season, were jolted by the active hands of their defense, which helped generate 34 turnovers. From that point, Potsdam was able to get running often in transition as it enjoyed a 39-14 advantage on points off turnovers.

Four Potsdam players scored in double figures with junior Bailey Weigel (East Amherst, N.Y.), senior Hannah Kmiecinski (Webster, N.Y.) and senior Jessica Kouzan (Webster, N.Y.) scoring 12 points apiece. Sophomore forward Katie LaVoie (Malone, N.Y.) had 10 points.

Eleven different players scored for the Bears as it shot 45.5 percent from the field including 10-of-21 from three-point range (47.6%). On Potsdam’s 30 field goals, it assisted on 22 of them.

“It feels good to give everybody a chance to contribute,” said ninth-year SUNY Potsdam coach Tara Ruckh. “This was our only home game for the semester so we wanted to play well for our fans. I’ve been really pleased with how we are moving the ball and we’re making a high percentage of shots. And, we’ve been able to match up well with either man or zone defense.”

The Kangaroos (1-2) briefly held a 5-4 lead on three-pointer by sophomore forward Brianna Sayer (Hermon, N.Y.). The Bears answered back on their next possession when senior guard Chenice Russell (Moira, N.Y.) connected from beyond the arc on an assist from junior forward Veronica Sapp (Potsdam, N.Y.).

Potsdam took a 7-5 lead at 16:51 remaining in the first half and never looked back, extending to a 44-23 halftime advantage.

“We did a nice job defensively with our ball pressure,” said coach Ruckh. “We came out with our modified zone and it forced them into making some bad decisions. Two of our challenges have been scoring and [keeping a high] shooting percentage. In both games so far, we’ve scored in the 70’s and we haven’t been giving up second-chance points defensively.”

Potsdam had three players with at least four steals as Kouzan came up with five while Weigel and Meghan Driscoll (Troy, N.Y.) took away four more. Weigel added a team-high six assists and five rebounds.

Senior forward Joelle Percy (Black River, N.Y.) led the ‘Roos with 15 points and six rebounds. Former Salmon River standout Karyss Terrance tallied 11 points and a team-high nine boards who Massena product Janelle Bradish chipped in seven points and four rebounds.

The Bears will be back in action on Saturday 4 p.m. at Hamilton College.

In other non-league women’s basketball matchups on Tuesday, Clarkson downed Cazenovia 73-58 while St. Lawrence University dropped an 88-59 decision on the road to SUNY Plattsburgh.

Clarkson 73, Cazenovia 58: In Cazenovia, junior Cara Manfredi (Glastonbury, CT) shot 14-15 from the free throw line and Stephanie Grobe (White River Junction, VT) had a strong first half as Clarkson claimed its second win of the season.

The Golden Knights improved to 2-1 on the season and will return to action this weekend at the Plattsburgh Invitational Tournament on Saturday and Sunday.

The Knights found themselves trailing by five just eight minutes into the contest, but a 13-0 run in the next four-plus minutes gave Clarkson a lead it would never relinquish. Leading by six late in the half, the Clarkson defense clamped down on the Wildcats and again held them without a point for a three-minute stretch, all the while putting up nine points to push its lead to double digits. Clarkson shot 52 percent from the floor (13-25) in the half and was even more impressive when shooting inside the 3-point arc (12-17, 70.5 percent). Clarkson also took care of the ball, providing Cazenovia with five turnovers while the Wildcats committed 15 miscues, due in large part to the Knights’ defensive effort which had 10 first-half steals.

Grobe shot 5-7 from the field and 4-6 from the free throw line for a game-high 15 points in the first half, while Manfredi added six points and four steals.

In the second half, Cazenovia started with seven straight points to cut Clarkson’s 14-point halftime edge in half, and the margin remained in that vicinity until the 12-minute mark following a Wildcat field goal. Once again, however, the Clarkson defense wouldn’t allow many open looks as Cazenovia went nearly six minutes without a basket, scoring just two points in that time frame on free throws. Clarkson took advantage, pushing its lead from seven points to 24 (64-40) at the 7:16 mark. The Knights maintained a 20-point edge until the final four minutes when the Wildcats were able to slowly crawl back within 10 (66-56) at the 1:13 mark. However, Clarkson was able to halt the comeback and finished with a 15-point victory.

Manfredi finished with 18 points, with the majority of the points coming on her 14 free throws, and seven steals. Grobe had a solid all-around effort with 17 points, five rebounds, and a pair of steals. Ashley Loggins (Albany, NY) produced 10 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals, and Isabella Esposito (Essex, VT) tossed in 10 points and three steals. Alyssia Marsal (Clifton Park, NY) also produced five steals. For Cazenovia, Erin O’Malley led all scorers with 22 points.

Overall, Clarkson recorded 21 steals in the game and also finished with 16 assists on its 22 field goals made.

SUNY Plattsburgh 88, SLU 59: In Plattsburgh, the host Lady Cardinals steadily pulled away from a 36-36 halftime lead for their first win of the season.

Kathleen Payne fired through a game-high 27 points for Plattsburgh (1-2) followed by Brittany Marshall of Malone with 14 and Devona Paul with 13.

Kelly Legg paced the Lady Saints (1-2) with 14 points followed by Caroline Dalont with 13 and Dara McDuffee with 12.

MEN’S BASKETBALL

In non-league college men’s basketball action on Tuesday, SLU dropped an 82-69 decision on the road to SUNY Plattsburgh.

Massena’s Brady Condlin (5 rebounds, 2 steals) and Kyle Kobis (6 rebounds) shared scoring honors for the visiting Saints (1-2) with 15 points each. Kyle Edwards chipped in another 11 points while Janepeter Brase (11 rebounds) and Al Jones both finished with eight.

John Perez worked the paint for 19 points and 14 rebounds in leading the Cardinals (2-1). Chris Manning tallied 16 points, six rebounds, six assists and six steals while Edward Correa connected for another 13 points.


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