March 07, 2009


Red Dragons off and running

Laing sets career scoring mark in victory

Red Dragons

Rich Barnes/Contributing Photographer
SUNY Cortland’s Jessica Laing goes up strong during Friday’s 71-55 win over St. Lawrence to open up NCAA tournament play in Scranton. Laing had 23 points to become the school’s all-time scoring leader.

SCRANTON, Pa. — A school career scoring record for Jessica Laing, along with a triumphant return to form by senior Maggie Byrne, helped SUNY Cortland women get off to a successful start in the NCAA Division III basketball tournament.
The Red Dragons knocked off St. Lawrence 71-55 in the opening round on Friday night behind a 43-point second half outburst, a convincing victory that will put Cortland (24-4) up against regional host Scranton (24-4) in tonight’s 7 p.m. second round contest back at the Long Center.
Junior forward Laing led the way with 23 points and eight rebounds, and became Cortland’s all-time scoring leader with 1,565 points in her three seasons. A layup late in the opening half was the record-setting shot, surpassing the old school mark of 1,550 points set by former teammate Sara Cavanaugh who graduated a year ago.
Point guard Byrne saw her most extensive action since breaking her wrist back in the first semester and contributed eight points to the victory, including hitting a pair of timely 3-pointers. Byrne did make a brief two-minute court appearance in Cortland’s SUNY Athletic Conference semifinal playoff loss to Potsdam a week ago. but played a much larger role in this post-season affair.
Sophomore guard Jennifer Polan finished with 11 points and sophomore forward Jennifer Patten added nine points for Cortland, who shot 65 percent from the floor (15-of-23) in the second half and 54 percent for the game. That including making 6-of-11 shots from beyond the 3-point arc.
St. Lawrence (19-8) was led by Katie Palmer’s 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Lauren Sischo scored 11 points and Abby Stanton added 10 points.
Cortland held the Saints to 28 percent shooting from the floor, including just 18 percent (5-of-28) from 3-point range.
The Red Dragons did not lead for the first 19 minutes of the game, but was still within 24-23 when Laing hit a layup at the 1:32 mark that gave her the Cortland career scoring mark. Byrne assisted on that basket, then hit a 3-pointer with 36 seconds left to put Cortland ahead for good. The basket was the first for Byrne since December.
Laing’s put-back layup with two seconds left in the half sent Cortland into the locker room with a 28-24 lead.
Palmer made a jumper 17 seconds into the second half to bring St. Lawrence within two, but Polan buried back-to-back treys over the next 1:15 to start a 13-0 Cortland run. Also part of the run were a Laing three-point play, an Ali Canale jumper and a Michelle Volpini layup as Cortland led 41-26 with 15:41 remaining. Cortland held the Saints to just two points from the 6:26 mark of the first half until less than 15 minutes remained in the second half, turning a 24-20 deficit into its 15-point lead.
Cortland’s lead grew to as much as 21 points at 57-36 on a Byrne fastbreak layup with 6:39 left. St. Lawrence pulled back to within 59-45 with 4:23 left on a Casey Capello 3-pointer and was within 13 points at 66-53 with 1:29 remaining on two Palmer free throws, but the Saints got no closer after that.
Scranton 73, Keuka 42: Sophomore guard Jennifer King came off the bench and scored 13 of her game-high 19 points in the first half to help upend Keuka.
The 15th nationally-ranked Lady Royals also received 11 points from sophomore guard Megan Kopecki and 10 points and seven rebounds from first-year forward Sarah Gage while winning their 17th straight game.
Keuka (17-8) had 10-point games from sophomore guards Nadia Madmoune and Jessica Fink, but shot only 26.5 percent from the floor while turning the ball over 24 times.
King connected on 5-of-9 shots from the field, including 3-of-6 from beyond 3-point territory, as Scranton took control from the get-go. The hosts led 36-16 lead by intermission and were never seriously threatened after that.
Mount St. Mary 56, Brockport 46: Mount Saint Mary College knocked SUNY Athletic Conference playoff champion Brockport out of the NCAA tournament with a first round victory at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass.
Brockport (19-10) trailed 27-17 at halftime and fell behind by as many as 13 points in the second half but rallied to close the gap to five with 1:23 to play on the strength of an 8-0 run. Forced to foul to stop the clock late in the game, Mount Saint Mary (24-4) connected on 7-of-9 free throws down the stretch to pull away for the victory.
Senior Brenlyn Campbell led Brockport with 18 points including 13 in the second half. Her short jumper with 3:52 remaining sparked the 8-0 run to cut the lead to just five points. Seniors Molly Brewer and Jen Buskus each added baskets in the run and finished with eight points each.
Cortland 71, St. Lawrence 55
Cortland (24-4) 71: Laing 8-13 7-8 23, Polan 4-6 1-2 11, Patten 3-3 2-2 9, Byrne 3-6 0-0 8, Canale 3-6 1-1 7, Volpini 2-7 1-2 5, Biordi 2-2 0-0 4, Ciccone 1-2 0-1 3, Lustig 0-3 1-2 1. Team totals: 26-48 13-18 71
St. Lawrence (19-8) 55: Palmer 5-13 9-12 20, Sischo 3-13 3-4 11, Stanton 3-12 4-5 10, Parham 1-3 2-2 5, Krzemien 2-5 0-2 4, Capello 1-6 0-0 3, Edgerton 1-6 0-0 2, Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Santoni 0-0 0-0 0. Team totals: 16-58 18-25 55
By periods:
SUNY Cortland 28 43 — 71
St. Lawrence 24 31 — 55
3-point goals: Cortland (6-11)- Polan 2-4, Byrne 2-2, Ciccone 1-1, Patten 1-1, Volpini 0-1, Laing 0-2. St. Lzwrence (5-28)- Sischo 2-9, Parham 1-2, Capello 1-6, Palmer 1-5, Edgerton 0-1, Stanton 0-5
Rebounds: Cortland 37 (Laing 8), St. Lawrence 33 (Palmer 9). Assists: Cortland 16 (Patten 3, Laing 3), St. Lawrence 10 (Palmer 5). Team fouls: Cortland 21, St. Lawrence 18. Fouled out: Laing (C), Canale (C), Palmer (SL)