New Paltz Women's Basketball Tops Oswego, 73-62, on Senior Day

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NEW PALTZ, N.Y. – For the second day in a row, the State University of New York at New Paltz women's basketball team (15-8, 13-3 SUNYAC) won a 73-62 decision, this time defeating State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) foe SUNY Oswego (11-11, 6-9 SUNYAC) Saturday afternoon at the Hawk Center during New Paltz's Senior Day.

In a scenario very similar to Friday's matchup between the Hawks and SUNY Cortland, New Paltz scored 25 points in the first half, trailed at halftime, then rallied to score 48 points in the second half for an 11-point margin of victory.

Prior to the game, six New Paltz seniors were honored for their contributions and time given to the team. Those seniors were: point guard and co-captain Kaitlin Clifford (Staten Island, N.Y./Curtis), guard/forward Samantha DelGaudio (Northport, N.Y./Northport), guard and co-captain Caitlin Irwin (Brooklyn, N.Y./Bishop Kearney), guard/forward Bridget Grover (Rockville Centre, N.Y./Holy Trinity), guard Zoe Cohen (Brooklyn, N.Y./The Berkeley Carroll School) and forward Shanay Bradley (Bronx, N.Y./New Explorers).

Junior guard Maliqua Fisher (North Babylon, N.Y./North Babylon) ceded her starting spot for senior class, but still managed to lead all scorers with 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the field. Bradley contributed 12 points and a game-high-tying eight rebounds (which were matched by Irwin) in the winning effort, with Clifford adding 10 points and four steals. Junior forward Alex McCullough (Delmar, N.Y./Bethlehem Central) netted 11 points while collecting three blocks and three steals. Cohen stole possession away four times to lead all players.

The Lakers' Lauren Nunziato led her team in scoring with 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including four successful three-pointers. Oswego also received double-digit scoring efforts from Meagan Stover (12), Kayla Ryan and Jenna Rossi (11 each). Stover collected a team-high three steals, also tying Paula Egelston for a team-high six rebounds.

New Paltz opened the game with two successful free throws by Grover. The first of four lead changes occurred with 17:40 remaining in the first half, with Nunziato hitting a three-pointer to put the Lakers on the board. The Hawks were able to establish a six-point lead with 9:30 to go in the first stanza thanks to a Clifford layup, putting New Paltz ahead 18-12. Another Nunziato trey tied the game up at 23-all at the 3:44 mark in the first half. A Grover jumper gave New Paltz a fleeting lead, as Stover responded with two layups in the final minute of the first half to give Oswego a 27-25 lead at the break.

Fisher and Stover exchanged layups to start the second-period scoring, followed by seven consecutive McCullough points (a layup, two free throws and a three-pointer) that established a lead New Paltz would not relinquish. The Hawks led by as many as 14 points in the second half, maintaining a double-digit lead for a hefty portion of the period in part due to their 88.9 percent free throw percentage (16-of-18) in the last 20 minutes of play.

New Paltz finished the night shooting 39.7 percent from the field (25-of-63) and 80.8 percent from the charity stripe (21-of-26). Oswego was held to 37.3 percent accuracy from the floor (22-of-59) and knocked down 63.2 percent of its free throws (12-of-19). The Hawks scored 25 points courtesy of the Lakers' 24 turnovers.

The Hawks have finished their regular-season home schedule but continue on with regular-season SUNYAC play. New Paltz travels to Plattsburgh, N.Y. on Tuesday, Feb. 14 to take on SUNY Plattsburgh, with tip-off slated for 6 p.m.