The Oswego State women’s basketball team kicked off its season with an impressive victory over the Cazenovia Wildcats, 88-33, on Tuesday night at Max Ziel Gymnasium.
The Lakers move to 1-0 on the season with the help of a balanced offensive attack from start to finish, as all 13 players on the Oswego State roster found their way into the scoring column.
"If you could script a perfect opening night, this would certainly be it," head coach Tracy Bruno said.
The game’s first 22 points were all scored by the Lakers; Cazenovia had a zero on the scoreboard for the first seven minutes of play. This was due in large part to the Lakers’ defense early on in the contest, forcing 24 Wildcat turnovers in the first half alone.
The Oswego State defense forced 10 straight turnovers before the Wildcats took their first shot with nearly five minutes gone by in the half. It was this type of unrelenting defense that Bruno likes to see from her team.
"We spend a lot of time on the defensive end of the floor; I’m a very defensive minded coach," Bruno said. "Our goal is to get inside the passing lanes and make it very difficult for teams to get into their offensive sets."
The Lakers had 22 steals on the night, which led to a lot of practice on their transition offense. Oswego State scored 42 points off turnovers while Cazenovia managed to score four points off Laker miscues.
Three Lakers scored in double figures, including captains Traci Bacon and Kayla Ryan who each scored 12 points. Sophomore Sue Schoff came off the bench to add 12 points of her own.
Oswego State controlled the pace from the opening tip, as Bacon drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key in the game’s first possession. Ryan then came up with a steal and coasted the length of the floor for an easy layup.
Senior Kristen Diglio nailed her second 3-pointer of the half to build the Lakers’ lead to 15-0. It was not until Cazenovia forward Kristy Foster knocked down a mid-range jumper with just under 13 minutes to play in the half that the Wildcats got on the board and ended the Lakers’ surprising shutout streak.
With the Lakers’ lead at 28-5, Bacon launched a 3-pointer from the top of the key. The shot came up short, but Bacon was not boxed out and was able to corral the offensive rebound. She quickly converted a layup that increased the lead to 25.
With the transition offense appearing to be in mid-season form, sophomore Kassie Klein came up with her first of two steals on the night. Klein found Wanda Sanchez down court with a pass through several Wildcat defenders. Sanchez cashed in on the good pass for two of her six points in the game.
At the end of the first half, the Lakers found themselves up 51-12, with the game well at hand. Oswego State shot 56 percent from the floor in the half, going 19-for-34. The Lakers used their size to their advantage as well, converting 28 points in the paint during the first half.
Bruno said she wanted her team to come out with the same intensity in the second half, but knew it was a difficult task with such a large lead.
"The message was it’s zero-zero; we need to treat it like that’s what the score is," Bruno said.
Cazenovia altered its defensive scheme after halftime and started to press the Lakers’ frontcourt. Oswego State was able to beat the press time after time due to crisp past and quick decisions. Kleine used her speed to dribble passed multiple Wildcat defenders and find a teammate for an open look at the basket. Kleine led the Lakers with five assists.
The victory was a total team effort as all 13 Lakers played at least 10 minutes in the contest. Kipper led Oswego State in rebounds with seven, while Sanchez and Jenna Rossi each grabbed six boards.
The Lakers will host the Max Ziel Women’s Basketball Tournament this weekend and will square off against D’Youville on Friday, Nov. 19, at 6 p.m. The tournament is part of the Hoops for Haiti event in which fans will be asked to make a donation to the ongoing relief efforts in Haiti.