Posted on 11/29/19
By, Jamie Malloy – Staff Writer
On Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, the number 19 ranked St. John Fisher Lady Cardinals Basketball team clashed against the Buffalo State Bengals in their 2019-20 season home opener at Manning Napier Varsity Gym in Pittsford, New York.
The Bengals came into the contest with a 2-2 record after defeating Thiel in the third place game of the Buffalo State Betty Abgott Invitational, while the Cardinals came in at 4-1 after suffering their first defeat to the RIT Tigers in the second game of the Mark’s Pizzeria Crosstown Shootout.
The Cardinals led 13-3 four minutes into the first quarter using the long ball to their advantage. Leah Koonman and Miranda Lynch then hit back-to back threes growing the lead to 13. Despite a mini-run from Buff State near the end of the first quarter, the Cardinals led 30-18, shooting the ball well from three and containing lose rebounds.
The second quarter is when things started to look bleak for Fisher. Buff State outscored the Cardinals 17-11 cutting Fisher’s lead to 5. Fisher then saw its lead evaporate completely, as the Bengals tied the score at 35 with less than 2 minutes remaining in the first half. The Cardinals then kept their composure going on a 6-0 run led by Mallory Wood and taking a 41-35 lead at halftime.
Fisher would come out of the gates hot in the third quarter as Ella Eckert sparked a 15-4 run off an “and one” play to increase the lead to 56-39. The Begnals
would not go away quietly however as they chipped in two straight baskets to cut the lead to 13. Leah Koonmen continued her stellar play hitting two free throws to give the Cardinals a 60-45 lead at the end of the third quarter.
The Cardinals began to pull away going on a 6-0 run early in the fourth quarter, increasing their lead to 66-45. Maisy Booth put the game away on an easy layup and the Cardinals lead by 26 in the remaining portion.
Despite the late effort, the Bengals could only muster eight points in the fourth quarter, as the Cardinals cruised to a 79-57 win.
Leah Koonman led the Cardinals with 18 points in 24 minutes and made four three pointers, adding four points from the charity stripe. Ella Eckert played her part as well, chipping in 17
points in 31 minutes, and played a huge role in sparking Fisher to a big second half scoring span. Head Coach Melissa Kuberka has counted on both of them for the last two years and believes they are stars already in their sophomore years.
“They’re great people,” said Kuberka, “Whether they are freshmen or sophomores, they come in ready to work, and from top to bottom we have a strong group.”
With the win, the Cardinals improved to 5-1 overall, and will look ahead to next Monday as they stay at home to play Union College at 5:00 p.m. at Manning and Napier Varsity Gym.
With the loss, the Bengals fall to 2-3 and will head back home to play Fredonia on Saturday, Dec 7 at 2 p.m. at the Buffalo Sports Arena.