The William Smith basketball team sank a season-high 18 free throws and committed a season-low 10 turnovers in a 78-70 win at Cortland this afternoon. The Herons’ fifth straight win over the Red Dragons moved them to 4-3 on the season while Cortland slipped to 6-5.
William Smith got to the line a season-high 27 times and made more freebies than their hosts attempted (15). The Herons also produced their second best effort of the season in scoring, 3-pointers made (12) and rebounds (39).
Sydni Salvatore and Sasha Borenstein shared game-high honors with 15 points apiece for the Herons. Liz Douglass and Erin O’Brien added 14 points each. Borenstein sank a team best five 3-pointers with Salvatore, Douglass, and O’Brien each making two. Jacqueline Murphy corralled a game-high 11 rebounds and Jaimie Rubin handed out a game-high seven assists.
Brittany Cohen and Meghan Maycumber paced five Cortland players in double digits with 13 point-games.
The Red Dragons built the biggest lead of the first half, a seven-point cushion just six minutes into the game, but William Smith roared back with a 10-2 run that included back-to-back triples by Borenstein. The nip-and-tuck stanza ended with consecutive buckets by Salvatore and O’Brien that sent the visitors into the locker room with a 40-38 lead.
Midway through the second half, Cortland used six straight points to take a 53-47 lead, but again the Herons had the answer, countering with a 12-2 run that put them in the lead for good.
William Smith’s lead grew to 67-60 on a Borenstein 3-pointer with 6:19 left and was seven again at 69-62 on a Murphy layup at the 5:04 mark. Cortland got within four at 72-68 on two foul shots by Micki Volpini with 2:10 left and got the ball back after a William Smith turnover.
However, the Red Dragons missed a layup on the ensuing possession. The Herons missed a shot of their own with 1:22 left, but Salvatore controlled the offensive glass and Murphy hit a short jumper in the lane with 53 seconds left to give William Smith a 6-point edge. From there, the Herons went 4-of-6 from the free throw line to close out the victory.
Cortland had just two field goals in the final five minutes of the game.
William Smith will be back in action on Friday, Dec. 30, when the Herons face Albion in the first round of the Posada Royale Holiday Classic hosted by California Lutheran. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. (5 p.m. ET).