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The Press. (Cortland, N.Y.) 1972-1990, March 03, 1989, Image 15

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Rubin / only the innocent. The Press/Friday, March 3. 1989/FIFfEEl\ Volume XIX Number 15 March 3, 1989 Ponda leads lady hoopsters, 70-69 Sports Information Office In a dramatic comeback that would make Hollywood script- writersenvious, the Cortland State women erased a 20-point Buffalo State second half lead to earn a thrilling 70-69 victory in the State University of New York Athletic Conference championship game Saturday night in Potsdam. A driving, \finger roll\ lay-up with four seconds left by Cort- land senior forward Mary Ponda, an all-tournament team selection with junior teammate Teresa Mckinney~ capped the most emotional victory in tbe two decades of Red Dragon women's intercollegiate basketball. \Everyone on the bench knew that once Mary started driving in the lane. she was going to. make that shot,'~ said Dragon coach Bonnie Foley. whose 16-1 0 squad has riow 15 of its last 17 contests. Buffalo State's Serry Jones had just sunk two free tluo\Ns with 11 seconds left for a 69-68 lead. Cortland, during its time- out, set up a play which would allow for any number of Dragon players, depending upon the Bengal defensive scheme, to score the winning basket. \There was no way to predict who was going to take that last shot for us, •• explained Foley. \I was amazed at ouur commpo- sure. It was beyond my expecta- tions. Those seven seconds seemed like an eternity. We got the ball from Tammy Stickles to Tammy Maas to Gina Boyd back to Tammy Maas. When llBuffalo State closed in on her, she kicked it over to Mary Ponda and she drove right down the middle of the lane.\ Panda. who was fouled on the shot. missed the free throw. The Bengals moved the ball to center court where Tournament MVP Dee ross • last second shot fell shoort. Bedla'm ensued as the Red dragons swarmed to mid- couurt-tG .form .a.single.s~;ream- . and championship unit that seemed light years away form its 1-7 record at season's start. \We've come a heck of a long way as a team this year,\ said Foley. \Our players knew what their weaknesses were and they worked on them. We've faced a lot of adversity this !year and we've turned it around with a couuple of adjustments and with team spirit. Tonight, even when we were down by 20 pooinnts, we knew we had the potential to score a lot of poinnts very quickly.\· The Red Dragon win, which ennded Buffalo State's five-year reign as conference wommen's basketball champions, appeared a long shot three-quarters of the way through the title game. the Bengals led 40-26 at halftime and opened a 52-32 margin with 14: 10remainginn. Buffalo State, with 7:55 left, still owned a 60- 44 lead and appeared on its way to another league crown. had oother de- signs. The Dragons cracked the Bengal man-to-man press with Maas-to-McKinny coast-to-coast passes. Boyd, Cortland's top notch \sixth man,\ poounded home three jumpers and a lay-up. Sure-shot Maas, a first team all- leaguer, sank a jumper and two free throws. Tammy Stickles, for a second straight game, provided brilliant defensive play, while adding a key jump shot that brought the Dragons to within 63- 62 with 3:0 l left. In four minutes, the stunned Bengals had been out- gunned 18-3. A Ponda free throw tied the game at 63-63 at the 2:10 mark. McK- inney's jump shot at I :33 gave Cortland its first lead 65-63. Ross, who had 30 points against One- onta in the semifinal Friday, knot- ted the game at 65-65 at I: 18 with two of her 27 game-high points. With 44 seconds left, Maas con- nected on one of two free thrown and Buffalo State regained a 67- 66 lead on Deb Koabel's driving shot seconds later. The undaunted Maas, on cortland's next possesion, netted a 15-footer for a 68-67 Dragon lead with 20 sec· onds to go. McKinney fouled out trying to steal the ball form the Ben gals' Jones, sending her to the line for the free·throws with 11 seconds left and setting up Panda's last second heroics. \Defense was the key to our game,\ noted Foley, who aliso lauded the defensive play of for- ward Sherry Martin and reserve guard Angie Patrick. \When we play defense well. it opens up our offense and allows us to score points. In the first half of the game, we tried too hard. We weren't in conntrol. In the sec- ond half, our confidence level was there. Nobody thought we were going to lose the game.\ Mckinney Finished with 16 points, Maas 15 points and Boyd with 12 points, while Ponda grabbed a team-high six rebounds. Both Maas and McKinney doled out six assists each. Boyd stole the ball six times from the Ben- gals, who drop to 21-5 overall. Tigers ice Dragons, 9-3 Sports Information Office The top-seeded Rochester Instil ute ofTechnology Tigers defeated visiting eigth-seeded Cortland State 9-3 in Saturday's quarterfi- nal contest of the ECAC Division III Men's Ice Hockey Tournament. Cortland, which finished the seson with a 13-13 overall record, kept pace with the 20-6-l Tigers in the first period. Dennis Starkey short- handed goal evened the game at 1-1 in the final two minutes of the first period. R.I.T., though, went on top 2-1 with a goal a minute late. Then, in the first three min- utes of the second period, scored three more goals for an insur- mountable 5-1 margin. Soppphomore defenseman Matt Johnson netted a Red Dragon power goal to pull his team to 5-2. however, R.I. T. matched the score and led 6-2 after two periods. John Dullaghan scored Cortland's last goal in the final period. Doug Grucza finished with 33 Cortland saves. tion of the game,\ said Cortland headcoachAI MacCormack, who wrapped up his eigth seeason at the Dragon helm. \'The first three minutes of the second period killed us. Still. it was an honor to be included in the eight · team ECAC West Playoffs. It was great exposure to get there and great for the team to play in the tournament. Matt Johnson, Den- nis Starkey and Jim Kartes all had a good game for us.\' Reflecting upon the 198&-89 season, MacCormack concluded, \Overall. it was a very good sea- son for Cortland. We showed that we could play with some of the best teams in the country. which is a good measuring stick for the future. We played to the level of our competition through- out the season which made it an up--and-down year for us. We are losing some players but hoope to replace them with some fine incoming players. Next year, we hope to continue with our success and take yet another step for- \The score was not a true indica- ward.\ '-

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