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Clarkson, SUNY Potsdam women drop basketball season openers at home

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POTSDAM - The Clarkson University and SUNY Potsdam women’s basketball teams opened the 2012-13 season by dropping non-league decisions on their homecourts Thursday night.

CU DENIED BY CANTON

A double-double from freshman Ashley Loggins (Albany, NY) highlighted the Clarkson effort but the Golden Knights came up short in their season-opener to SUNY Canton, falling 69-62 at Alumni Gymnasium.

The win for Canton was its first over Clarkson since the 1985-86 season, ending a nine-game losing streak to the Golden Knights.

In the first half, the two teams started off slowly until both realized they could get open shots by driving to the rim and beating their defenders off the dribble. Easier open shots and lay ups allowed scoring to open up, but neither team could gain much of an advantage. Clarkson had a five-point edge early on, but each time the Kangaroos responded with a 3-pointer to quickly climb back into the contest. A three-point play from freshman Ashley Loggins near the end of the half gave the Knights a one-point lead at the break.

Loggins nearly recorded a double-double in the first half with nine points and 12 rebounds, including six offensive boards and sophomore point guard Leighann Tomita (Cerritos, CA) added four assists. For Canton, Karyss Terrance had 12 points, making all four of her free throw attempts and four shots from the floor.

Canton took the lead with a 3-pointer on its first possession and other than one tie, had the lead for the remainder of the game. Each time that the Golden Knights made a run and were within a single possession of retaking the lead, Canton would nail a 3-point field goal to push the advantage back to four or five points. The Kangaroos would eventually extend their lead to double figures late in the half, taking a 15-point lead (64-49) with just over four minutes to go. However, Clarkson would cut into the lead and make a game of it in the final minute, but free throws down the stretch gave Canton a seven-point cushion at the buzzer.

Noelle Miller (Hamburg, NY) scored a career-high 20 points, shooting 10-for-16 from the floor, to lead the Golden Knights, while Loggins had 14 points and 15 rebounds. Tomita shot a flawless 7-for-7 from the free throw line and had 15 points overall.

For Canton, former Salmon River Central standout Karyss Terrance led the team with 17 points while adding in eight rebounds in her college debut and Kaitlin Myers contributed 16 points. Alicia Uhlein shot 6-for-7 from the floor for 15 points, and Joelle Percy nearly had a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.

POTSDAM FALLS TO UTICA

Across the Raquette River, SUNY Potsdam suffered a 58-35 setback to Utica College at Jerry Welsh Gymnasium.

Senior guard Katy Briedis led the Bears in the loss with 12 points.

Foul trouble plagued the Bears during the first half of their season opener. Potsdam exchanged baskets with Utica in the early stages of the contest before junior guard Hannah Kmiecinski found junior forward Jessica Kouzan in the corner for a three pointer to claim a 13-9 lead. Utica responded in the post behind senior forward Meghan Fiore. The Bears had no answer for the senior as the Pioneers charged out to a 30-19 lead going into the half. Utica earned the advantage as they shot 11-16 from the free throw line.

The second half was similar to the first as the Bears struggle to lock down the paint. The Pioneers continued to feed Fiore underneath as they generated a 13-3 run in the first ten minutes of the final half. Potsdam received a spark from the bench as sophomore Margaret Wall and freshman Morgan Clark each notched their first collegiate points. However, the deficit was too large for the Bears to recover as the Pioneers sealed a 58-35 victory.

Fiore finished with a double-double, totaling 25 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Pioneers. Teammate Mary Miceli added 12 points. Potsdam’s Kouzan and Wall added seven and six points, respectively. The Pioneers edged the Bears in rebounds (46-34) and capitalized on 17 of 23 free throw opportunities.

“I thought we did some good things defensively and were able to create some chances on the offensive end,” said Head Coach Tara Ruckh. “We just couldn’t capitalize on some key opportunities throughout the game.”

The Bears return to action Saturday when they travel to Geneva, N.Y. to take on William Smith College. Tip off is set for 7 p.m.

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