NEW PALTZ, N.Y. – The Oswego State women’s basketball team (12-4, 6-3 SUNYAC) nearly erased a 13-point, second-half deficit, but came up short in a 56-53 loss to unbeaten New Paltz (15-0, 9-0 SUNYAC) Tuesday night.
Both teams battled it out on the defensive end, as neither was able to gain an early advantage. Oswego State jumped out to a 9-6 lead at the 8:33 mark of the first half as Meagan Stover (Sr., Lake George, N.Y.) connected on a layup. New Paltz retook the lead seconds later after Maliqua Fisher drained two free throws and a jumper inside the paint to put the Hawks up by one. The visitors stormed back and held a four-point lead after Kassie Kleine (Sr., Cazenovia, N.Y.) dropped it off to Lauren Nunziato (Jr., West Sand Lake, N.Y.) for an open three-pointer.
Neither team was willing to give an inch, as those in attendance witnessed two ties and nine lead changes in the first half. Heading into the locker rooms, the Lakers held a five-point advantage at intermission.
The Hawks were a different team in the second half, as they shut down the Lakers while finding their stride offensively. A pair of Kleine free throws would be the only points the Lakers scored until a Nunziato layup at 8:26. In that time, New Paltz scored 17 unanswered points, stretching its lead to as many as 13.
Despite its struggles, Oswego State continued to work its offensive game plan. Nunziato once again found herself in the paint as she laid the ball in the hoop for two points, which seemed to ignite a Laker comeback. The visitors clawed their way back against the Hawks with a 12-2 rally, including five clutch free throws.
Both teams continued to go back-and-forth for nearly two minutes until Nunziato rained a three-pointer to cut the New Paltz lead to three with 1:33 left to play. Seconds later, Stover swatted a Shannon Walker attempt to ignite the fast break, leading to a Kari Kipper (Sr., Loudonville, N.Y.) layup on the other end, cutting the deficit to a single point. With 0:22 left to play, the Lakers were forced to foul. New Paltz missed the front end of a one-and-one, and the Lakers came away with the ball, giving them a chance to take the lead in the final seconds. However, it was not to be, as New Paltz held on for a 56-53 victory.
Nunziato led the charge for Oswego State with a game-high 15 points, including three from downtown. Jenn Robbins (Jr., Geneva, N.Y.) contributed 12 off the bench. New Paltz was paced by Maliqua Fisher, who dropped 15 points.
The Lakers look to get back into the win column on Saturday when they host Cortland (6-9, 4-5 SUNYAC) at 6 p.m.