Cortland women’s basketball coach Jacey Brooks earns first collegiate victory

Cortland celebrates after Jacey Brooks (back row, far right) earned her first collegiate head-coaching win (Photo: Travis Lamer/Elmira College)

ELMIRA, N.Y. – Shelby Dugan (Watervliet) led a balanced Cortland scoring attack with a career-high nine points as the Red Dragons defeated host Elmira, 54-47, to give Jacey Brooks her first collegiate victory as a head coach.

Dugan made 4-of-9 shots from the field and also recorded six rebounds and three assists for the Red Dragons (1-1). Justine Crespo (Monroe/Monroe-Woodbury) finished with eight points, six rebounds and a career-high five blocked shots, Shana Crespo (Monroe-Woodbury) had eight points, six boards, three blocks and three steals, and Kristy Vitucci (Deer Park) totaled eight points, five rebounds and four assists.

Katie Carey (Greene) added career bests of seven points and nine rebounds. Shannon McGuire (West Babylon) chipped in with six points and career highs of five rebounds, four assists and four steals, and Tanna Mohammed (Huntington/Elwood-John H. Glenn) hit both of her 3-point attempts and finished with six points.

Rachel Vespucci and Lindsey Heaton led Elmira (1-4) with 11 points apiece, followed by Bridget Yaw and Sally Hogan with eight points each. Vespucci and Lauren Franklin led the Soaring Eagles with nine rebounds each and Yaw grabbed seven boards. Franklin and Heaton each dished out three assists.

Cortland led 12-5 after one quarter and 23-17 at halftime. Elmira pulled within 25-24 three minutes into the third quarter, but the Red Dragons maintained their lead and eventually took a 39-33 advantage into the final 10 minutes.

The Red Dragon lead grew to 11 points at 44-33 on two McGuire free throws with 7:37 remaining. Elmira, however, went on an 8-0 run and was within three points on a Hogan layup with 4:32 left. The hosts eventually got within one at 48-47 on a Franklin free throw with 1:35 left, but her second attempt missed the mark.

Vitucci sank two foul shots with 1:28 left to put Cortland up three and (Justine) Crespo hit two free throws with 48 seconds remaining to extend the lead to five. Elmira missed a pair of free throws with 44 seconds on the clock and Dugan made the first of two charity tosses at the 38-second mark to give Cortland a six-point lead. Vitucci closed the scoring 10 seconds later when she made the second of two foul shots.

Cortland won despite shooting 29 percent from the field and 13 percent (3-of-23) from 3-point range. The Red Dragons, however, held Elmira to 27 percent shooting overall, and the Soaring Eagles missed all 12 of their 3-point attempts. Elmira also turned the ball over 25 times to Cortland’s 16 giveaways.

Cortland will play its first home game of the season next Tuesday when it hosts Ithaca in a 7 p.m. non-league contest.