By: Dylan O’Loughlin
Plattsburgh, NY — The Brockport Golden Eagles women’s basketball team made the long trip up north to take on the Plattsburgh State Cardinals in a pivotal SUNYAC matchup. With the help of forward Zoe Zutes and guard Stephanie Jean-Baptiste, the Golden Eagles were able to come out of the trip with a 70-64 win over the Cardinals.
(Photo Credits: GoBrockport.com)
The first quarter was where the scoring began for the two. After coming off of a career-high 23 points against the Buffalo State Bengals, Zutes continued to have the hot hand as she put up 10 points in the first quarter, two of those buckets coming from beyond the arc. Jean-Baptiste was just as involved as well. She tallied up 11 points in the first quarter. They would put up all but two of Brockport’s 23 points in the first quarter. Even though the scoring was hot from Zutes and Jean-Baptiste, Plattsburgh was able to stay in the game putting up 18 points in the first quarter thanks to all-around scoring from the starters, mostly from forward Imani Walcott. Walcott tallied six points in the first and guard Mya Smith added five in the first on 100% shooting.
In the second quarter, the Cardinals went on a run. After trailing 23-18, an 8-0 run by Jaden Wilson gave Plattsburgh a 26-25 lead to start the second. In addition, second-chance opportunities gave Plattsburgh more opportunities to build a lead. Zutes and Jean-Baptiste kept on scoring, but it was not enough as Brockport trailed 34-32 at halftime.
In the third quarter, it was the battle of the bigs. The bigs of Plattsburgh, Walcott and Payton Couture both put up seven points and guard Julia Greek helped out with a couple buckets to give Plattsburgh the lead however, Zutes had other plans. She put up eight points in the third, including two threes. Then when the defenses started adjusting to her and bringing the double team, she was able to make quick decisions with the ball and get two assists for the Golden Eagles. Brockport would go on to win this quarter and head into the fourth with a 54-52 lead.
In the fourth, the back-and-forth affair continued, First Walcott and Greek were able to make some big shots to tie the game and even give Plattsburgh a lead at one point in the fourth quarter, but Zutes and Jean-Baptiste were too much for the Cardinals. Zutes drilled another three and knocked down a clutch free throw to give her 27 on the day, a new career high just three days after setting a new career mark against Buffalo State. Zutes also contributed on the defensive end, tying her career-high with five blocks.
Jean-Baptiste put up seven points in the fourth and controlled the pace of the game finishing with a season-high 23 points. She added two blocks of her own, both coming in the fourth quarter. When the dust settled, Brockport held on to the win.
“I was back and forth for so long that we knew we had to take it possession by possession,” Zutes said. “And I think that we did a real good job this game letting our offense kind of happen, but letting our defense follow through into our offense.”
Jean-Baptiste added six rebounds while Zutes contributed eight rebounds, five blocks, and three assists in addition to her 27 points. Zairea Hannah added 17 rebounds for Brockport.
“We just have to continue to execute,” Zutes said. “Do what we need and do what we know is best. We can’t be doing anything crazy, playing selfish ball, and we’re playing as a team and finishing through what we need to.”
The Golden Eagles now improve to 7-6 on the season while the Cardinals fall to 6-6. Brockport looks to carry this momentum heading into tomorrow, Jan. 13, as they are right back on the road against the Potsdam Bears.