Women's basketball: Potsdam's zone defense pesters Canton; Bears roll to 79-42 win

11.19.13

Rolling out a highly effective three-quarter press and zone defense, the SUNY Potsdam women's basketball team antagonized SUNY Canton to roll to a 79-42 nonconference victory at Jerry Welsh Gymnasium on Tuesday night.

The Bears (2-0) 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. / Williamsville East), senior Hannah Kmiecinski (Webster, N.Y. / Webster-Thomas) and senior Jessica Kouzan (Webster, N.Y. / Webster Schroeder) scoring 12 points apiece.  Sophomore forward Katie LaVoie (Malone, N.Y. / Franklin Academy) 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. / Heron-DeKalb).  The Bears answered back on their next possession when senior guard Chenice Russell (Moira, N.Y. / Brushton-Moira) connected from beyond the arc on an assist from junior forward Veronica Sapp (Potsdam, N.Y. / Potsdam).

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. / Troy) took away four more.  Weigel added a team-high six assists and five rebounds.

Senior forward Joelle Percy (Black River, N.Y. / Carthage) led the 'Roos with 15 points and six rebounds.

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