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Cardinals look to secure playoff spot
02/01/2011 07:14 A (EST)
Feb. 01--PLATTSBURGH -- The Cardinals are currently in position to make the playoffs, and they have an opportunity this week to distance themselves from a couple of the teams that would like to overtake them.

Plattsburgh State, seventh in the SUNY Athletic Conference women's basketball standings, hosts last-place Potsdam tonight and will visit eighth-place Brockport Friday. The Cardinals (6-10, 3-7 SUNYAC) will also face Geneseo, which is unbeaten in conference play, this weekend.

The top eight teams make the conference tournament at the end of the month.

"These are two real big games. These are teams behind us. These are games that we are supposed to win," Plattsburgh State coach Cheryl Cole said. "So we need to step up, because neither one is going to give anything to us. They're both desperately trying to make the playoffs."

Potsdam (2-15, 1-9) beat Brockport Jan. 7 and has lost all seven games since then. The team is 0-8 on the road.

The Bears' top three scorers are guards, led by Aimee Kellicutt with a 10.0 points-per-game average, and Cole said they've been using a guard-heavy lineup lately.

"They're playing a lot of guards on the floor right now, so obviously where we feel we have an advantage is in the post," Cole said.

The Cardinals should get a little help in that area tonight. Taylor Amarando, who missed the last two games with a knee contusion and sprain, is expected to see some playing time tonight.

"She actually practiced (Monday), so unless there's any ill effects, she'll probably be available," Cole said. "What that means, we'll see. We've got three games this week, and we don't want to set her back. So she'll be in uniform, and we'll see how it reacted after (Monday)."

The majority of Plattsburgh State's scoring has come from inside players this season. Amarando averages 11.8 points per night, and guard/forward Kathleen Payne is scoring 11.2. Forward Nora Campbell is next with 9.4 points per game.

The Cardinals, who have eight games left, are looking to stop a three-game skid. Cole said they'll need to guard the 3-point territory, where Potsdam likes to take a lot of its shots, and use their size advantage to win the glass.

Another big issue is starting strong -- Plattsburgh State has played from behind frequently this season, and falling back early hurt them in losses to Oneonta and New Paltz over the weekend.

Notes: Potsdam's roster features two local players: Junior Stephanie Marcotte played high school ball at Willsboro, and freshman Chenice Russell suited up for Brushton-Moira.

E-mail Courtney Lewis at: clewis@pressrepublican.com

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