March 03, 2009


Cortland women picked for NCAA tourney field

Though unable to secure an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III women’s basketball tournament, SUNY Cortland was still respected enough to be included in the 63-team field chasing after a national title.
With a sparkling 23-4 overall record, the Red Dragons were chosen as an at-large selection on Monday to join this post-season fun. Cortland will face St. Lawrence (19-7) in a first round game Friday as part of a four-team regional gathering at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.
Scranton (23-4) and Keuka College (17-7) will meet in the other first round game, with the winners to play a second round game Saturday evening. Starting times for Friday’s twin bill are to be decided today.
Cortland is making its ninth NCAA tournament appearance and seventh in head coach Jeannette Mosher’s 11 seasons. The Red Dragons hosted a regional in 2007 and defeated Medaille in the first round before losing to Rochester. Cortland’s best national finishes were “Sweet 16” placements in both 1992 and 2001.
The Red Dragons won the regular season SUNY Athletic Conference title, only to be knocked off in the playoff semifinals by Potsdam 64-59 this past Friday night on their home Corey Gymnasium floor. Brockport went on to beat Potsdam 57-51 in the title game to earn an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament — the Golden Eagles (19-9) to face Mount St. Mary (23-4) on Friday night at Brandeis University in Massachusetts.
St. Lawrence earned an NCAA automatic bid by winning the Liberty League tournament, beating Union 71-61 in the title game this past weekend.
Laing, Mosher Honors
Junior forward Jessica Laing was named the SUNYAC Player of the Year during last weekend’s Final Four gathering in Cortland, earning a spot on the all-conference first team as voted upon by league coaches.
Mosher was named the Coach of the Year after her Red Dragons went 15-1 in the regular season to finish first.
Laing is one of three Red Dragons to earn All-SUNYAC honors. Sophomore forward Jennifer Patten was named to the second team, while senior forward Ali Canale was an honorable mention selection.
Laing is the SUNYAC leader with 18.3 points and 11.5 rebounds per game in 27 contests. She also averages 1.7 steals and 1.6 assists per game, shoots 33 percent (38-of-115) from 3-point range and is an 81 percent free throw shooter (131-of-161). Laing recorded 18 points-rebounds “double-doubles” and scored in double figures 26 times.
A three-time first team All-SUNYAC honoree and former all-state high school standout at South Kortright, Laing ranks second at Cortland with 1,542 career points, eight shy of tying the school record. She also has 926 career rebounds, 32 away from the school mark.
Joining Laing on the first team were Brockport senior forward Brenlyn Campbell, Potsdam junior guard Cortney Poirier, Oneonta senior forward Shannon Weir and New Paltz sophomore guard Artie Williams.
Patten, out of Bainbridge-Guilford High School, is Cortland’s second-leading scorer this winter with 10.5 points per game and is third with 4.6 rebounds per game. She leads the Red Dragons with a 48.2 field goal percentage and averages 1.5 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Patten has scored in double figures in her last five games and 17 times overall this season.
Canale, from Oswego, averages 7.1 points per contest and ranks second on the team with 5.6 rebounds per game. She also averages 2.1 assists and 1.2 steals per game and is shooting 44 percent from the field. Canale has started all 114 of Cortland’s games in her four-year collegiate career. She has 765 career points and is 17 rebounds short of becoming the seventh player in school history to reach the 700-mark in that category.
Mosher was named the SUNYAC Coach of the Year for the third time in the last four years and the fifth time overall. She has guided the Red Dragons to at least 23 victories each of the last four seasons and currently has a career record at Cortland of 253-58 (.814).
Niehoff Named to 2nd Team
Cortland forward Carson Niehoff was a second team choice on the All-SUNYAC men’s squad. The senior out of West Islip led the Red Dragons this season with 14.1 points per game and made a team-best 58 3-pointers. He also averaged 2.2 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game and shot 74 percent from the foul line in 27 games.
Niehoff scored 21 points in each of Cortland’s two SUNYAC playoff games and was named to all-tournament team. He finished his career ranked 17th in school history with 1,042 points.
Cortland finished 8-8 in SUNYAC play and 12-15 overall. The Red Dragons defeated Buffalo State on the road in the league quarterfinals before losing by a point to Fredonia in the semifinals.
Geneseo’s Scott Morton, the 6-foot-6 senior guard out of Westhill, was named the SUNYAC Player of the Year.