In an early-season showdown of conference unbeatens, the SUNY Cortland women’s basketball team was feeling pretty good.
With senior guard Cassidy Chapko making shot after shot, with forward Alyssa Crosby working on a double-double and with Taylor Miller headed for an 11-point performance, the Red Dragons were on the verge securing their fourth consecutive victory.
Instead, visiting Fredonia erased 12-point fourth quarter deficit and pulled out a 72-70 victory in this SUNY Athletic Conference showdown, decided when Kathryn Halloran made a pair of free throws with 3.7 seconds left to play.
That concluded a 10-0 run by the Blue Devils to close things out at Corey Gymnasium, as Fredonia improved to 4-0 in the conference standings — tied with unbeaten Geneseo for first place — and 8-1 overall.
Stunned Cortland falls to 3-1 in the conference, 4-4 overall.
That spoiled Chapko’s career-high tying 28-point performance, with included passing out four assists and getting to four rebounds. She made a career-high seven 3-pointers in 13 attempts.
Crosby scored 10 points and got her hands on a career-high 14 rebounds, while also passing out four assists. Miller had 11 points, four assists and four rebounds, and was a perfect 3-for-3 shooting 3-pointers. Stephanie Rice contributed nine points and six rebounds off the bench, too.
Still, Cortland was unable to finish off the Blue Devils as 21 turnovers proved to be fatal.
Down by a dozen points in the fourth quarter, Fredonia still trailed 70-62 with just over two minutes remaining. Then Jacque Law converted a layup with 2:05 left and, following a Cortland turnover, Alexis Cheatham sank a 3-pointer at the 1:27 mark to cut the Blue Devils’ deficit to three at 70-67.
Cortland missed a shot with just under a minute remaining, and Law hit her only 3-pointer from the right wing with 47 seconds left to tie the game. The Red Dragons turned the ball over again with just under 32 seconds left.
Following a timeout, Fredonia ran the clock down to under 10 seconds. The Blue Devils missed a jumper with seven seconds left, but Halloran grabbed the rebound and was fouled.
Halloran made both free throws to give Fredonia its first lead since it held an 8-5 lead with 5:03 left in the first quarter.
Cortland called timeout to automatically advance the ball into the front court. After a Fredonia timeout, the inbounds pass went to Chapko. Her potential long game-winning 3-point attempt hit the rim and bounded away at the buzzer.
Center Jenna Einink led Fredonia with 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting along with eight rebounds, four assists and four steals. Cheatham made five 3-pointers and ended with 22 points, Law totaled 11 points and a game-high eight assists, and Halloran finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.
The Red Dragons travel to SUNY Poly in Utica for a non-league game this coming Saturday at noon to finish up their first semester schedule.