Cortland women’s basketball suffers first league loss at New Paltz

Kristy Vitucci made four 3-pointers and finished with a team-high 14 points (Darl Zehr Photography)

Box Score

NEW PALTZ, N.Y. – New Paltz took a 21-7 lead after one quarter and held off a late Cortland push as the Hawks defeated the Red Dragons, 58-48, in a SUNYAC women’s basketball contest.

Cortland (6-5, 5-1 SUNYAC) suffered its first league loss of the year and had its six-game winning streak snapped. New Paltz, the two-time defending league champion, improved to 7-5 overall (3-3 SUNYAC) and avenged a loss at Cortland earlier this season.

Kristy Vitucci (Deer Park) led Cortland with 14 points, including 4-of-7 shooting from the 3-point arc. She also hauled in six rebounds. Shana Crespo (Monroe/Monroe-Woodbury) added 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting along with two blocks and four boards, Kerry McHugh (Monroe/Monroe-Woodbury) scored eight points, and Justine Crespo (Monroe/Monroe-Woodbury) led the team with nine rebounds. Alaina Lynch (Staten Island/Staten Island Tech) finished with four assists.

Rachel Simon paced the hosts with 19 points and added three assists. She connected on five of her nine 3-point tries, including two in the final two minutes to help seal the win. Marion Dietz made three 3-pointers and ended with 11 points, Lindsay Bettke totaled 10 points and six rebounds, and Madison Van Pelt finished with four assists and a game-high 11 rebounds.

New Paltz led 19-4 after a Dietz 3-pointer with 1:09 left in the first quarter. The Hawks extended their 21-7 end-of-quarter lead to 18 points, 37-19, at the half, and led by as many as 22 points in the third quarter at 46-24 on Simon’s layup with 4:35 remaining.

Cortland, however, scored the final eight points of the third, including a combined six from the Crespo sisters, and trailed 46-32 entering the final 10 minutes. The Red Dragons pulled within 10 points at 50-40 with 5:59 left on a Shannon McGuire (West Babylon) layup, but got no closer until Vitucci drained a 3-pointer with 1:42 remaining to cut the deficit to seven, 52-45.

With the shot clock running down on New Paltz’s next possession, Simon canned a trey from the left corner to push the Hawks’ lead back to 10. She added another three from the same spot with 24 seconds left to extend the lead to 13. McHugh’s 3-point play with 14 seconds remaining created the final margin.

Cortland will host Plattsburgh on Friday at 5:30 p.m. and Potsdam Saturday at 1 p.m. in SUNYAC games next weekend.

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