By David Spiegel
NEW YORK, NY –
Senior forward Alex McCullough scored 12 of her 14 points in the second half to help erase a four-point halftime deficit and lead the State University of New York at New Paltz women’s basketball team (1-0) to a 64-59 non-conference victory over Hartwick College (0-1) in the 2012-13 season opener and opening round of the New York University (NYU) Tip-Off Tournament Friday evening.
McCullough opened the season with a bang, tying a career high with 11 rebounds to go along with her 14 points for her third-career double-double. Junior guard Alyssa Gratien followed with 10 points in her first game in the Blue and Orange. Senior guard Maliqua Fisher was all over the stat sheet, picking up seven points, seven assists and five rebounds.
After going into the intermission down by four, the Hawks came out flying with a 15-0 run in the first five minutes of the second stanza to take a 45-34 lead. The scoring went back and forth throughout the half, with the Hawks leading by 11 once again with 8:40 to go before Hartwick started chipping away.
With the Hawks up 54-47, Hartwick’s Kate Purcell drained a three to cut the lead to four. Katrina Caulfield then added a layup to bring Hartwick within two. New Paltz did not allow Hartwick to get any closer, clinching the win after McCullough drew back-to-back fouls in the closing seconds.
The two teams played a tight first half, with neither team leading by more than four until Hartwick pulled to a 34-28 lead with 44 seconds left. Freshman guard Michelle Valle sunk a layup with 21 seconds left to take the Hawks into the half down four.
Hartwick’s Kate Purcell led all scorers with 20 points on the evening. Maria Foglia was not far behind with 17 points. She was a perfect 6-for-6 from the stripe to lead Hartwick to an 85 percent free throw rate. Foglia and Brittney Dumas each pulled down eight rebounds in the loss.
New Paltz shot 39.3 percent from the field, and converted 66.7 percent of its free throws. Hartwick made just 33.3 percent of its field goals. Hartwick outshot New Paltz from long distance, making 60 percent of its three-pointers to the Hawks’ 28.6.