December 14 2015
The Elmira College women's basketball team survived a second-half scare and the Bears' relentless full-court defense en route to a 61-53 victory against SUNY Potsdam on the road Saturday afternoon.
While the Soaring Eagles have seen opposing defenses employ the press, EC had not faced a team this season that pressured the ball for the entire 40 minutes. It was a game plan that forced Elmira to cough the ball up 26 times, as the Bears recorded 12 steals and 23 points off of turnovers.
Elmira led by as much as eight points in the first half. A pair of three-pointers from Danielle Cleary '18 and Emily Green'18 gave the Soaring Eagles 20-12 advantage just over two minutes into the second quarter. However, following Green's triple at the 7:54 mark, the Scoring Eagles went on a scoring drought that lasted nearly four minutes.
During that span, the full-court press employed by the Bears, as well as SUNY Potsdam's ability to crash the boards, allowed the home squad to slowly chip away at the lead. Meanwhile, EC went 0-for-7 from the field and turned the ball over four times as the Bears scored six straight points to cut the lead down to two points at 20-18.
Ashley Heiman '16 finally ended the lull with a second-chance layup at 3:57. Green nailed her second three-pointer of the second quarter with just over two minutes left in the frame to put EC ahead 25-20, but SUNY Potsdam's Katie Lavoie responded with her own three on the following possession to keep the difference at two points. Elmira led 27-25 at the half.
The Bears carried the momentum over into the second half, scoring the first three points in the third quarter to take their only lead of the game at 28-27. But SUNY Potsdam scored only five points in the remaining seven-plus minutes of the period.
The Soaring Eagles regained the lead on the ensuing possession with a jump shot from Cleary, followed by two points from Green and a pair of foul shots from Meghan Loya '16. Cleary ended the quarter with two more free throws to give EC a nine-point lead, 42-33. The Purple and Gold seemingly put the game out of reach at the start of the final period with a Cleary triple and jumper from Lindsey Heaton '19, resulting in a 48-33 Elmira lead, the largest of the game.
Once again stymied by the full-court pressure, the Soaring Eagles watched the Bears claw their way back into the game. Shots from distance also starting falling for the Bears; after making only one three-pointer in the first three quarters, SUNY Potsdam went 3-for-9 from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter. Lavoie's trey trimmed the lead from 14 points to 48-37 with six-and-a-half minutes remaining. Abbey Lapage cut the deficit to single digits with a three with 3:26 left in regulation. Then, with less than a minute to go, Janay Smith struck from distance to make it a six-point difference, 57-51.
Four consecutive free throws, including two from Loya, added the insurance Elmira needed in the final moments of the game to preserve the lead and the win.