Women's basketball falls to Buffalo State on Senior Night, 91-84


POTSDAM, N.Y.—Buffalo State (19-5, 14-3 SUNYAC) used free throws to pull away from the SUNY Potsdam women's basketball team (6-18, 4-13) for a 91-84 victory on the Bears' Senior Night. Junior guard Carli Reynolds (Indian Lake, N.Y./Indian Lake) scored a career-high 21 points. Senior captain Jessica Kouzan (Webster, N.Y./Webster Thomas) moved into fifth place on Potsdam's scoring list with a 14-point performance. Bengal senior guard Staci McElroy (Saratoga Springs, N.Y./Saratoga Springs) had a game-high 25 points.

Buffalo State raced out to a 12-4 lead, it's biggest of the game, four minutes into the contest and Bears head coach Tara Ruckh called a timeout to break the momentum. The strategy worked as Potsdam slowly clawed its way back into the contest. Senior guard Chenice Russell (Moira, N.Y./Brushton-Moira) hit a layup to spark an 18-6 run capped by a Reynolds 3-pointer and the Bears led 22-18 with 8:39 left. A 10-0 stretch put Bengals up by six nearly three minutes later, but the Bears roared back. A Kouzan jumper followed by a jumper and a 3-pointer from junior captain Bailey Weigel (East Amherst, N.Y./Williamsville East) tied the game at 31 all at the 4:32 mark. The teams traded baskets the rest of the half, but two Weigel free throws gave Potsdam a 40-39 advantage at the break.

Buffalo State built leads of seven twice early in the second half, but couldn't shake Potsdam. A 3-pointer from senior captain Hannah Kmiecinski (Webster, N.Y./Webster Thomas) tied the score at 60 with 9:48 remaining. A 9-2 spurt by the Bengals made it a 69-62 contest with 7:43 on the clock, but again the Bears chipped away. A layup from Reynolds cut the gap to 81-79 at 1:41, but Potsdam wouldn't get any closer. The Bengals hit all six of their free throws over the rest of the game to hold off the Bears 91-84.

Weigel finished with 17 points, while Russell chipped in 13 and Kmiecinski added 12. Buffalo State senior forward Bianca Smiley (Amherst, N.Y./Union-Endicott) scored 16 points and grabbed eight boards and senior guard Olivia Luciani (Syracuse, N.Y./East Syracuse Minoa) contributed 15 points. Junior forward Ashley Wallace (Lockport, N.Y./Starpoint) also reached double-digits with 13 points.

The Bears outshot the Bengals 51.7 percent to 40.5, but were out rebounded 44-26.

Potsdam wraps up the 2013-14 campaign at 2 p.m. tomorrow when the Bears host Fredonia State.