Bengals battle, remain in playoff hunt


Ryan Esguerra, Reporter

It was a tale of two games past weekend when the Buffalo State women’s basketball team faced SUNYAC opponents Plattsburgh and Potsdam.

The Lady Bengals (10-9 overall) embarked on a two-game road trip that saw them lose a game by 30 points then bounce back and win a game by 31 points, losing to Plattsburgh, 93-63, on Friday and beating Potsdam, 92-61 on Saturday.

“Consistency was tough for us this weekend,” Buffalo State head coach Sue Roarke said. “The girls came out flat on Saturday, they lacked energy and focus. They played a lot better Saturday and I am proud of that.”

On Friday, Plattsburgh started the game on an 8-0 run and would never lose the lead throughout. The Bengals shot just 25 percent from the field while losing the rebound battle, 60-42.

Niasha Houpe led the Bengals in points in a game that saw only two players reach double figures, registering 14 points and a team-best seven rebounds. Keyonte Edwards had 11 points.

“Friday’s game was a tough one for us,” junior Jordan Yastremski said. “We didn’t come out ready to play like we should have and the other team came out with a lot of energy.”

On Saturday, the tables would turn for the Bengals as they went up against a Potsdam team (1-17 overall) that owned the league’s worst record coming into the game. A dominating effort on both ends of the court resulted in Buffalo State winning, 92-61.

Potsdam would draw first blood, but Buffalo State pulled away by as many as 19 points in the first half, before Potsdam fought back to make it a seven-point game at the intermission. The Bengals started the second half with two quick field goals and would never look back.

Olivia Luciani led the Bengals in scoring with 21 points. Brittnee Perry played a complete game, scoring 12 points, grabbing nine rebounds and registering five assists. Edwards had in 10 points and eight rebounds, while Ashley Wallace chipped in nine points and eight rebounds.

“After Friday’s game, we met as a team to find out why each of us play.” senior Ashley Wallace said. “We decided that we need to play to have fun and play for each other and it was evident that we did that on Saturday because it translated onto the court.”

During the month of January, the Bengals went on a four-game winning streak that was immediately followed by three consecutive losses. Streakiness has plagued the Bengals throughout the entire season. They ended the month 6-4, however, they still remain in the thick of the SUNYAC playoff hunt.

With the end of the season approaching quickly, the plan is to keep an offense that tallies 71 points-per-game hot and to tighten up a defense that gives up 70 points-per-game.

“I think that this team can do great things in the coming weeks, we have to just keep working on our defense in practice and good things will happen,” Roarke said. “Honestly, I think that any of the teams that make playoffs can win out. The league is that close this year.”

The Bengals return home this weekend for the start of a three-game home stand, where they play Cortland on Friday and Oswego on Saturday.


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