New Paltz Basketball Earns Win Over Middlebury

By Monica D’Ippolito

HOBOKEN, NJ — The State University of New York at New Paltz closed out the Stevens Holiday Tournament with a 54-51 win over Middlebury Saturday.

Both teams struggled shooting the ball throughout the game. The Hawks hit 30 percent from the field and 28 percent from 3-point range, while the Panthers shot 33 percent and just 2-for-17 from the perimeter.

Middlebury got out in front off the tip and led by as many as five in the first quarter until Morgan Hammel knocked down a 3-pointer with the game clock expiring to bring the difference down to two at 13-11.

The two teams traded made buckets from the arc as Hammell made another from distance, but the Panthers responded with a triple to push the lead back to four two minutes into the period, as they maintained the cushion until the end of the half. Brianna Fitzgerald trimmed the deficit to two, catching and swishing from 3-point range before getting her bucket to go as the buzzer sounded on a mid-ranged jumper to knot the score at 23 at the break.

Abby Korzkewinski opened up the second half with a traditional three-point play, getting her basket to go underneath and taking contact to help SUNY New Paltz to its first lead of the game at 25-23. The Hawks held the advantage until three minutes left in the period, as an 8-0 run brought Middlebury back in front, 31-28. Fitzgerald broke up the run with a put-back off her own miss, earning an and-1 opportunity and tying the score at 31 after the made free throw.

The Panthers’ Bethany Lucey got her layup to go in the final minute, but Julia Sabatino attacked the basket and earned a trip to the foul line where she made both and tied the score at 33-all entering the fourth.

There were four different lead changes to start the final 10 minutes until the Hawks started building an eight-point cushion with Fitzgerald hitting in the paint to create a 48-40 advantage for her team. Middlebury climbed back to get within two with 17 seconds left, hitting as the shot clock buzzer sounded leading to a timeout by SUNY New Paltz. The Panthers intentionally fouled out of the break, putting Hammell to the line where she made 1-of-2, keeping Middlebury’s hopes for overtime alive.

On the final play of the game, the Panthers found a look on a step-back 3-pointer by Alexa Mustafa who’s shot careened just off the back of the rim and out with time winding down, allowing the Hawks to close out on the three-point victory.

Fitzgerald led the way for SUNY New Paltz, scoring a game-high 25 points in 38 minutes with 13 rebounds, two assists and three steals. She also surpassed the 1,000-career point threshold, as she was 14 away from the milestone heading into the game and with her 25-point performance currently sits seventh all-time in program history.

Korzekwinski followed with nine points and 11 rebounds with two assists, two steals and a block with Sabatino registering eight points, five rebounds, two steals and an assist in the win.

SUNY New Paltz improved to 7-2 on the year with a big weekend in the books and will head back into the Hawk Center Saturday to face SUNYAC foe SUNY Oneonta Jan. 6 for a 2 p.m. matchup.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email