Women’s basketball eliminated from playoffs after loss to Cortland


Dave DeLuca/The Record

With the loss on Friday, Buffalo State becomes mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

Emmanuel Rodriguez, Staff Writer

The Buffalo State Lady Bengals needed a win on Friday night to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, but Cortland’s senior Cassidy Chapko had different plans. Chapko posted 43 points and led Cortland to an 85-65 win that eliminated the Bengals from postseason contention.

Desperate for a win, the Bengals stumbled out of the gate. Halfway through the first quarter, the Red Dragons held a 10-point advantage at 17-7, but finished the final 5:35 of the quarter on a 15-4 run. At the end of the first quarter, the Bengals surprisingly had a 22-21 advantage over the third-seeded team in the SUNYAC.

In the second quarter, the trend of trading buckets continued. However, the Lady Bengals were able to keep the lead for most of the quarter. The Red Dragons attained the lead in the second quarter for just 22 seconds at 24-22. The Bengals led by as much as six in the second frame, and at the half, the Bengals led 36-34.

Bengals’ head coach Kevin Clifford told his team the point of emphasis for the second half was without the ball.

“Defense,” he said with a chuckle. He followed with “If you look at (Chapko,) she’s been playing very well.” Chapko had 20 at the half. But the halftime speech wasn’t enough to help his team stymie the Red Dragons’ scorers.

After a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Grace Licata gave the Bengals a seven-point lead, it all started to go downhill quickly. Down by one, Chapko hit a three and gave Cortland a two-point lead with 5:26 left in the third quarter. From there, the Red Dragons never looked back. Cortland ended the final five minutes of the quarter on a 19-9 run.

It was more of the same as the game went into the final stanza.

The Red Dragons poured it on in the fourth and the largest lead was 20 for Cortland. The Red Dragons outscored the Bengals in the fourth quarter, 21-16, and ultimately upended the Bengals, 85-65.

Sophomore forward Princella McCullough led the Bengals in points on Friday. She had 15 points and added 12 rebounds, completing another double-double. Junior forward Mariah Rosario had 12 points. Senior guard Shyasha Spencer and Licata each had nine points.

The player of the game was a Red Dragon as Chapko set a few new school-records. Chapko scored 43 points in the victory, and made nine 3-pointers.

“We probably should’ve done things differently when guarding her,” admitted Coach Clifford.

With this loss, the Buffalo State Lady Bengals have been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

Next up for the Buffalo State Bengals (6-17 overall, 3-13 SUNYAC) will be a home game against the Oswego Lakers (8-14, 5-10). The Bengals will look to end their nine-game losing streak.

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