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November 20, 2008

 

Second half stumble for Dragons

Ithaca overcomes double-digit deficit

Dragons

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
During a timeout, SUNY Cortland women’s basketball head coach Jeanette Mosher tries to rally her team during the Red Dragons’ 56-51 loss to Ithaca in their home opener.

By ALAN BUTLER
Sports Editor

Sure the second half offensive woes suffered by SUNY Cortland women proved costly in this home-opening basketball loss.
Shooting just 25 percent from the floor and making a lone 3-point shot over the final 20 minutes of play certainly played a large role in this Ithaca College comeback that upended the Red Dragons 56-51 on their Corey Gymnasium floor.
But Cortland head coach Jeannette Mosher also pointed to 17 first half turnovers to part of her team’s demise, even though the Red Dragons held a 28-18 advantage at intermission in this early season non-league test. “The 17 turnovers in the first half kept us from expanding on our lead, because we knew they were going to come out in the second half and play better offensively,” she said.
That is just what Ithaca did.
Junior guard Katherine Bixby scored 18 of her game high 25 points in the second half as the Bombers’ shooting touch warmed up. The visitors landed 8-of-15 second half shots from 3-point range in shooting down the Red Dragons.
Bixby and Lindsay Brown combined for all eight of those made treys, with guard Brown scoring all 12 of her second half points from beyond the arc. Forward Elissa Klie added eight points and 10 rebounds as the Bombers picked up their first win of the season after having been beaten twice at the Chicago Midway Classic last weekend.
“It was really all about settling down,” said Dan Raymond, a former Cortland coach now in his eighth season heading up the Bombers. “We talked at halftime about what we needed to do. It was all the fundamentals, screen a body, come off the screen and shoot in rhythm. In the first half we were shooting flat-footed.”
Jessica Laing — who was honored before the game for being the first Cortland sophomore to score 1,000 points in a career during the 2007-08 season that saw Cortland win 24 games — had 17 points and 15 rebounds for the Red Dragons. The junior forward was the only Cortland player in double figures, however.
After putting up 83 points in a season-opening win at Hartwick College this past weekend, points were hard to come by for the Red Dragons. “I think we probably missed 10, 14 points on missed lay-ups, and you can’t win doing that,” said Coach Mosher.
With just under five minutes to play, the Red Dragons grabbed their final lead at 50-49 when junior Tiffany McLaughlin hit a jump shot. Down the stretch Cortland scored just a single point, sophomore Jennifer Patten making the first of two free throws with 29.7 seconds remaining.
Not that Ithaca’s offense was much better during crunch time. But Brown swished a 3-pointer from the right wing to put the Bombers ahead for keeps and Bixby made 4-of-5 free throws down the stretch and that was enough.
THE RED DRAGONS led for most of the opening half, when eight of the 10 players used by Coach Mosher contributed points.
Ahead 24-18, freshman guard Allyson Biordi hit a shot coming off a screen with 3:17 left in the half and McLaughlin made two free throws at 2:54 and the Red Dragon lead was 10 points.
That is when Cortland really missed a golden chance to pull away. Neither team scored the rest of the half, the Red Dragons hurting themselves with five turnovers.
And while Ithaca was going on a 15-2 run to open the second half, taking the lead on back-to-back Bixby 3-pointers, the Cortland scoring slump continued. Three free throws were all the Red Dragons could muster over the opening seven and a half minutes of the stanza.
Laing carried the offensive load for a while, scoring three straight Cortland baskets on a spin inside in the lane, a shot in the lane off a Patten assist and a transition basket off a Kristen Ciccone pass.
The teams traded the lead from there. Bixby hit her third trey of the half to put Ithaca up 44-41, only to have Laing answer back with a 3-pointer of her own. Moments later Bixby sank another 3-point at the top of the key and Ithaca led 49-48, only to have McLaughlin hit a shot to erase the deficit — that being the last basket Cortland would make in the game.
The Red Dragons landed just 8-of-31 shots in the second half, which negated an overall 50-34 rebounding edge.
Guard Maggie Byrne, Patten and McLaughlin all scored eight points for the Red Dragons, whose final turnover count reached 26. Senior Forward Ali Canale pulled down seven rebounds and blocked two shots in the loss.
“We couldn’t get a rhythm going,” said Coach Mosher of the 23-point second half struggles.
CORTLAND WILL participate in the Skidmore Invitational on Saturday and Sunday in Saratoga Springs.
Misericordia from Pennsylvania will be the Red Dragons first round foe at 4 p.m. Saturday, while Skidmore takes on Western New England from Massachusetts. The consolation game is noon Sunday, with the final at 2 p.m.
“The good thing is, this is only the second game and we can work on the things we have to do to get better,” said Coach Mosher after the Ithaca loss. “The problem is some of the mistakes we’re making are by our veterans, and that can’t happen.”

ITHACA 56, CORTLAND 51
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Ithaca (1-2) 56: Brown 4-16 0-2 12, Klie 3-4 2-2 8, Rumschik 0-3 0-0 0, Bixby 8-17 3-5 25, Bradley 3-6 3-3 9, DeBiasse 0-2 0-0 0, Confessore 1-5 0-3 2, Burke 0-3 0-2 0. Team totals: 19-56 9-17 56
Cortland (1-1) 51: Laing 6-16 4-4 17, Byrne 2-13 2-2 8, Patten 3-6 2-4 8, Ciccone 0-6 0-0 0, Canale 1-6 1-4 2, Biordi 1-2 0-0 2, Dougherty 0-0 0-1 0, McLaughlin 2-3 4-4 8, Volpini 1-3 0-0 2, Polan 1-1 0-0 3. Team totals: 17-56 13-19 51
By periods:
Ithaca College 18 38 — 56
SUNY Cortland 28 23 — 51
3-point goals: Ithaca (9-27)- Brown 4-12, Rumschik 0-1, Bixby 5-10, DeBiasse 0-2, Confessore 0-2. Cortland (4-17)- Laing 1-5, Byrne 2-9, Biordi 0-1, Volpini 0-1, Polan 1-1
Rebounds: Cortland 50 (Laing 15), Ithaca 34 (Klie 10). Assists: Ithaca 18 (Klie 4, Bixby 4), Cortland 11 (Patten 4, Ciccone 4). Team fouls: Ithaca 18, Cortland 17
Officials: Berwind, Lorenzetti, Smith