Bears give Oneonta early scare; fall in 2nd half


The SUNY Potsdam women's basketball team was going up against the hottest team in SUNYAC on the road Friday evening.

Oneonta State, who entered as winners of six straight for the longest overall win streak in the conference, were tested early by the Bears.

But, the Red Dragons had two big runs left in them as Oneonta used a second-half surge to push past Potsdam for a 70-50 conference win.

The Bears (3-9 overall, 1-4 SUNYAC) gave the Red Dragons an early scare.  Senior guard Hannah Kmiecinski (Webster, N.Y. / Webster Thomas) knocked down a 3-pointer to tie it at 16 all on a feed from Chenice Russell (Moira, N.Y. / Brushton-Moira).

Then, after an 3-point misfired shot by Oneonta's Alyshia Crawford, junior guard/forward Bailey Weigel (East Amherst, N.Y. / Williamsville East) found senior Jessica Kouzan (Webster, N.Y. / Webster-Schroeder) open for another 3-pointer to give the Bears a 19-16 advantage with 10:03 remaining in the first half.

The Red Dragons (11-2 overall, 5-1 SUNYAC) regained the lead briefly on a Crawford 3-pointer, but Bears' sophomore Katie LaVoie (Malone, N.Y. / Franklin Academy) nailed a jump shot to knot it at 21.

From there, Oneonta took a 32-27 advantage into halftime and never trailed thereafter.

Kouzan found her rhythm early, hitting five of her first eight shots, for 13 points in the first half.  Crawford led Oneonta with 14 points at the break.

A 9-0 run by Oneonta pushed the lead to 42-29 with 14:41 left in the second half.

Potsdam answered with an 8-0 run of its own to cut the deficit to six on a 3-pointer by Kouzan, a pair of free throws from freshman Meghan Driscoll (Troy, N.Y. / Troy) and another 3-pointer by junior Carli Reynolds (Indian Lake, N.Y. / Indian Lake).

Oneonta pushed back later in the half with a decisive 10-0 run to put them up 58-39.  Potsdam went nearly seven minutes without a field goal during that stretch.

Rebounds were an area of concern for Potsdam as the Bears were beaten 59-33 on the boards including a 28-7 edge in offensive rebounds.

Kouzan shot 7-of-15 from the field with finish with a team-high 19 points, six rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot.  The 5-foot-10 sharpshooter made 4-of-11 from beyond the arc.  She ranks third in the conference for 3-point field goal percentage (39 percent) and fifth in the conference for 3-pointers made (23).

Russell had eight points, two steals and two blocks while Reynolds closed with eight points.  Weigel picked up her 17th block of the season to remain fourth in the conference in that category.  She trails SUNY Geneseo's Allison McKenna and Plattsburgh's Devona Paul by just three blocks for second-best in that statistic.

Crawford, who averages 16.4 points per game and is second in SUNYAC for most 3-pointers made, led Oneonta with 19 points.  She shot 3-of-10 from downtown.

Grace Schilling added 10 points, four steals and four assists, while Sarah Longto also had 10 points and her conference-leading 31st blocked shot.

Kouzan now has 797 career points and will be looking to move past the 800-point plateau on Saturday afternoon at SUNY Paltz.  Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.