March 6, 2010


Red Dragons exit early

BasketballPhoto courtesy of University of Rochester
SUNY Cortland senior Jessica Laing gets off a shot under pressure during Friday’s Division III first round tournament contest against the University of Rochester. Though Laing finished with a game-high 20 points, the Red Dragons lost 66-47 in Rochester.

ROCHESTER — This was an occasion where SUNY Cortland women had to be at their basketball best.
So shooting 23 percent from the floor and missing nine free throws led to an early exit in the NCAA Division III tournament, as the Red Dragons lost 66-47 to host Rochester on Friday night.
Though senior forward Jessica Laing scored a game-high 20 points in the final game of her illustrious career at Cortland, she was only 6-of-22 from the floor and was the lone Red Dragon to reach double figures.
Four Rochester players scored in double figures led by Jodie Luther’s 11 points as the Yellowjackets (20-6) advanced to face Virginia’s Mary Washington (22-5) at 7 p.m. tonight in the second round. Mary Washington beat William Paterson 84-53 in the opening game of last night’s doubleheader at the Paltestra.
SUNY Athletic Conference regular season and playoff champion Cortland, making its 10th NCAA tournament appearance overall and fourth in the past five seasons, finishes up 25-4. The Red Dragons had a 20-game unbeaten streak halted, this their first loss in 2010.
“We couldn’t put the ball in the basket,” said Cortland coach Jeannette Mosher. “It’s easy to get frustrated.”
Cortland was 15-of-64 from the floor, made just four of 20 tries from beyond the 3-point arc and had uncharacteristic 13-of-22 troubles from the free throw line.
Laing had nine rebounds to go along with her 20 points. She finishes her stellar career with 2,166 points and 1,305 rebounds — both school records.
She ranks 21st in NCAA Division III history in career scoring and 15th in career rebounding. Laing also started all 117 games during her four years at Cortland, breaking the school record for consecutive starts of 116 set by former teammate Ali Canale from 2005-09.
Sophomore Micki Volpini had seven points and three assists for Cortland, junior forward Jennifer Patten six points and eight rebounds and sophomore point guard Allyson Biordi six points, seven rebound and four steals in the setback.
Rochester shot 40 percent from the floor, and survived turning the ball over 23 times. Caroline Bernal-Silva, Melissa Alwardt and Madeline Korber each finished with 10 points in the balanced attack. Alwardt also led the team with eight rebounds, the Yellowjackets with a 51-38 advantage on the backboards.
“From a defensive standpoint, we wanted to keep them on the perimeter,” said Rochester coach Jim Scheible of holding down the Dragons. “Don’t let them dribble penetrate because that’s when they get to the foul line.”
Laing’s three-point play tied the game at 5-5 with 15:57 left in the first half, but the Red Dragons didn’t make another field goal for more than seven minutes. Rochester went on a 14-1 run during that stretch and led 19-6 with 9:41 left.
Back-up center Jamie Piperato made a layup with 8:38 left to end Cortland’s field goal drought, but the Red Dragons were never able to cut their deficit to single digits the rest of the night.
Rochester led 31-20 at halftime and opened the second half on a 10-2 run over the first 4:45 of the second half. The Yellowjackets’ lead fluctuated between 15 and 22 points after that.
l Top-ranked Amherst College opened up play in the 2010 NCAA Division III tournament with a 68-47 home court win over the Massaschusetts College of Liberal Arts. Point guard and Cortland High grad Shannon Finucane had three points and two assists for the 29-0 Lord Jeffs, who will face Southern Maine today at 5 p.m.