ELMIRA, N.Y. – Junior Grace Williamson scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds as Cortland opened its season with a 67-64 non-league victory at Elmira College.
Williamson, a transfer from Alfred University, made 6-of-9 shots from the floor and all five of her free throws. She also blocked two shots in 29 minutes of action. She was one of three Red Dragons to score in double figures along with sophomore Sarah Seger, who finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists in her Cortland debut, and sophomore Brittany Rando, who scored 15 points.
Seger, a Nassau County Community College transfer, scored 14 of her 16 points in the second half. She finished 8-of-14 from the field. Rando hit 5-of-7 shots, including 2-of-3 three-pointers. Cortland shot 46 percent from the floor.
Elmira, which was also playing its season opener, was led by Maria Thannhauser's 19 points, six rebounds and five steals. Jessica Zoltowski added 17 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Cortland held its largest lead of the game at 24-10 on a Tashia Morris layup with 9:39 left in the first half, but the Soaring Eagles fought back as close as two points at 30-28 after a Zoltowski three-pointer. Cortland led 34-28 at halftime and pushed the margin to 10 at 44-34 on Seger's layup with 15:59 left, but Elmira once again clawed back and eventually took its first lead of the night at 50-48 on a Kelsey Geisler trey with 8:22 remaining.
The game remained close the rest of the way. Elmira tied the score at 64-64 on a Zoltowski layup with 1:06 left and Cortland turned the ball over with 54 seconds remaining. The hosts missed a shot with 36 seconds left and Cortland sophomore Lindsey Minor was fouled on a drive with 27 seconds remaining. She made the second of two free throws to give Cortland a 65-64 lead. On Elmira's ensuing possession, the Soaring Eagles tried driving to the basket with about 10 seconds left. The ball came loose, however, and Rando gained possession and was fouled with five seconds remaining. She made both free throws to put Cortland up by three, and a desperation three-pointer by Elmira was short at the buzzer.
Cortland will play at the Susquehanna University Tip-Off Tournament in Selinsgrove, Pa., Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 17-18. The Red Dragons will play Ursinus College Saturday at 6 p.m. and will face either Susquehanna or Penn St.-Harrisburg Sunday at 1 or 3 p.m.