Smooth operators: Bears cool under pressure to top Brockport on road 66-60
The production came from many different faces down the stretch and a collective team effort kept its turnovers in check as the Bears women's basketball team picked up a gutty 66-60 road conference victory at Brockport's Vlogianitis Gym Saturday afternoon to split the season series between the schools.
Through five lead changes and a push back by the Golden Eagles that tied the score at 40 with 12:09 left, it was Potsdam who came up with timely hoops when they were most needed.
And it began with some pressure on defense where Potsdam was able to hold Brockport to 32 percent shooting from the floor with the added help of a created 16 turnovers.
A Carli Reynolds (Indian Lake, N.Y. / Indian Lake) 3-pointer made it 43-40 and Potsdam never trailed again. Bailey Weigel (East Amherst, N.Y. / Williamsville East) knocked down a jumper and then Reynolds' quick release from the top of the key sank through to give the Bears a six-point advantage. Freshman Meghan Driscoll (Troy, N.Y. / Troy) drove in for a lay in and Weigel soared to the hoop to cap a 9-0 run.
Hannah Kmiecinski (Webster, N.Y. / Webster Thomas), Weigel and Chenice Russell (Moira, N.Y. / Brushton-Moira) all made huge shots down the stretch for Potsdam (5-15 overall, 3-10 SUNYAC).
Kmiecinski nailed a 3-pointer on the wing to help the Bears reclaim the lead at 38-37 with 13:53 left. Russell hit a dagger on a swift move along the baseline to give Potsdam a 61-56 lead with 41 seconds left. Russell then hit a pair of free throws and Weigel made 3-of-4 from the line in the closing minute to secure the win.
"I was very pleased to see four kids reach double digit in scoring," said SUNY Potsdam women's basketball coach Tara Ruckh.
"As far as being vocal and playing well, everybody contributed. [In earlier games against] Oneonta and Geneseo, we played really great in the first half. We would hit a lull and then teams would make a run on us. Since, we talked about mental toughness and limiting when that happens. I took a timeout in the first five, six minutes [of the second half] and told them this is when it happens to us. And, we finally just put it all together and played our most complete game that we have in a while. We have to get away from playing games not to lose it and play to win it. It was just really gritty performance today."
Veronica Sapp (Potsdam, N.Y. / Potsdam) made a tough angled lay in on a solid post move to give Potsdam a 28-21 lead with 4:18 left in the first half. The Bears led 33-27 at the break.
After Reynolds made a jumper to start the second half, Brockport regained the lead with a 10-0 run.
Brockport retook a 39-38 lead on a pair of free throws. Jessica Kouzan (Webster, N.Y. / Webster-Schroeder) answered with a driving score with the shot clock winding down. Brockport tied it at 40.
Potsdam trailed 2-0 and immediately took the lead on a Russell 3-pointer. Kouzan drove for a layup, Reynolds connected from long range and then Kouzan followed with another layup to cap a 10-2 Bears' run to begin the game.
Weigel led with 14 points, six rebounds, a block and a steal.
Kouzan, a senior forward, finished with 13 points. She scored 36 points on the weekend to reach 938 points in her career for seventh all-time in Bears women's basketball scoring history.
Reynolds was perfect 3-of-3 from 3-point range to finish with 11 points, Russell had 10 points and two blocks while Driscoll added eight points, five assists, three rebounds and a steal. Kmiecinski had six points and four assists.
Hannalee Fordyce led the Golden Eagles (8-11 overall, 4-8 SUNYAC) with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Potsdam will return home to host SUNY Oswego on Friday at 6 p.m.