ITHACA - Falling behind early in the first quarter, the Clarkson University women’s basketball team was playing catch up virtually the entire game and ended up on the short side of a 73-43 Liberty League decision on the road to Ithaca College Friday night.

The Golden Knights dropped to 7-14 overall and 3-12 in the Liberty League while Ithaca maintained its hold on first place, moving to 17-5 and 13-2. Clarkson will take on Skidmore College on this afternoon.

Ithaca came out strong in the first quarter, shooting 13-for-20 from the field, and the Bombers took a 16-2 lead before the first five minutes expired from the clock. Mariah Benavides ended the run with a 3-pointer at the 4:53 mark, but Clarkson struggled overall in the first 10 minutes. Benavides and fellow freshman Elaina Porter combined for nine points on 4-for-6 shooting, but the rest of the team shot 0-10.

Down by 18 to start the second quarter, Clarkson played a little more evenly despite some continued struggles on offense. The Knights edged back to within 16 at the 7:03 mark when Maddie Pratt buried a 3-pointer to make the score 33-17, but Clarkson would not score again until the final minute when Hannah Earl hit a 3-pointer with 20 seconds to go. Fortunately for Clarkson, Ithaca wasn’t particularly hot in that stretch, scoring only seven points in the last seven minutes of the half.

The third quarter was similar to the first, as Clarkson shot just 20.0% (3-15), with most of those misses coming during a late scoreless stretch. Elaina Porter hit a jumper at the 6:33 mark to get back with 18 points, but the Knights were held without a field goal for the rest of the period as Ithaca went on a 13-1 run. The fourth quarter saw the Knights get within 26 points twice, but by the end of the period it was still a 30-point game.

Hannah Earl and Elaina Porter each scored eight points to lead the Knights, while Lauren Bell contributed seven points and eight rebounds. Cassidy O’Malley led all scorers with 16 points, shooting 8-10 from the field for Ithaca. Grace Cannon was 5-9 with 11 points and Abbi Field made five of her six tries from the floor for 10 points. Ithaca finished with 15 steals, forcing Clarkson to commit 20 turnovers.

POTSDAM FALLS TO CORTLAND

In a SUNYAC matchup at Cortland, host SUNY Cortland (18-3, 12-2 SUNYAC) downed SUNY Potsdam 83-68.

Sophomore forward Devyn Elliott (Bronx) recorded her ninth double-double of the season with 25 points and 13 rebounds. Sophomore guard Dyamon Hunter (Bronx) scored 13 points and added six assists. Freshman guards Caroline LaFountain (Saratoga Springs) and Bella Barner (Liverpool) each contributed nine.

Potsdam started strong, outscoring the Red Dragons 11-8 over the first 4:33 of the contest. LaFountain opened the scoring with a 3-pointer and scored five of the first 11. Freshman guard Tsai Lewis (Cortland) had four points in the opening burst, impressing her hometown crowd. However, Cortland roared back to finish the opening 10 minutes with a 13-5 run and led 21-16. Elliott scored five points in the quarter as well.

The Red Dragons build a 28-20 lead after a Beth Bonin jumper two minutes into the second, but Elliott, LaFountain and freshman forward Jakia Howard (Syracuse) scored in succession to close the gap to two. Cortland then slowly stretched its lead out again with a 12-8 edge as the first half expired and took a 40-34 advantage into the locker room. Hunter scored eight of Potsdam’s 18 points in the quarter.

Potsdam wasn’t able to gain ground in the third. Bonin set the tone for the Red Dragons with a three just 11 seconds in. A jumper from Elliott at 4:57 got the Bears within 46-42, but they couldn’t get closer. Cortland finished with a 14-9 advantage and led 60-51 after 30 minutes. Elliott added 10 points to her total in the quarter.

The Red Dragons scored the first five points of the fourth to take a 65-51 lead with 8:04 left. Potsdam answered with a 10-5 run to get within 70-61 at 4:38, but Cortland pulled away again to close out the 83-68 victory.

The Bears shot well at 45-percent from the floor, but the Red Dragons were even hotter at 49-percent. Potsdam edged Cortland on the glass 38-35.

Bonin led all scorers with 32 points to go along with seven assists and six boards. Shannon McGuire scored 14 points for the Red Dragons and Nyia Longford had 13.

Potsdam heads to Oswego State today at 2 p.m. for a battle with the Lakers.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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