Kmiecinski leads Bears to victory
CANTON, N.Y.- Sophomore Hannah Kmiecinski scored a career high 26 points to lead the SUNY Potsdam women's basketball team to a 68-57 victory over Morrisville. Kmiecinski was 7-11 from the field including 4-6 from behind the arc and made eight of her 10 free throws in the opening game of the SUNY Canton Tournament.
The Bears found themselves in a 23-17 hole with 9:18 remaining in the first half and were out of sync. Head Coach Tara Ruckh knew she had to change things up to get the Bears in a better rhythm.
"We got it going with defensive pressure," Ruckh said. "We put on a full court press to change the tempo and forced some turnovers."
The Bears responded with an excellent defensive effort the rest of the half. The Mustangs would only manage one basket over the final nine minutes and turned the ball over 11 times.
Offensively, Kmiecinski scored 14 first half points despite being in foul trouble and only playing 11 minutes. Her three-pointer with 1:21 left ended a 14-2 run and sent Potsdam into the break up 31-25.
The Bears would score 17 unanswered points early in the second half, capped by back-to-back three-pointers by Kmiecinski which gave Potsdam a commanding 50-27 lead. Morrisville wouldn't go down without a fight, and closed the gap to nine points with two minutes left but could get no closer.
"I'm glad and excited we got a win," said Ruckh. "We worked hard and limited the mental mistakes. Hannah kept us in the game early and then helped us extend the lead."
Freshman Bailey Weigel grabbed eight rebounds to go along with eight points and five assists and sophomore Jessica Kouzan scored eight of her nine points in the second half to secure the win.
The Mustangs had four players score in double digits with Dyshea Smiley leading the way with 16 points. Morrisville was held to 32 percent shooting for the game and turned the ball over 22 times.
Potsdam returns to action tomorrow with a 2 p.m. tip off against host Canton. The Kangaroos defeated Bard College 65-33 in their opening round matchup.