J-D, with all of its injury concerns, had to deal with 6-0 Cortland last Wednesday night, and it turned into a tense contest decided by free throws in the final minute -- with the Rams losing to the Purple Tigers 43-42.
The good news was that starting sophomore guard Alyssa Gratien was back in the lineup, despite a knee injury suffered in the team's loss to Pittsford Mendon on Dec. 15. But Gratien gave up her spot in the starting lineup to Leah Porter.
Aggressive right from the tip-off, Cortland led for much of the first half, dominating on the boards and taking full advantage of J-D's turnovers and cold shooting from the perimeter. The Rams trailed by as much as seven and needed its own strong defense to keep the Purple Tigers close, 19-14, at the break.
At one point midway through the third period, J-D's deficit grew to nine, 31-22 - but it started to fight back when sophomore reserve Nicole Ortega dropped a pair of outside shots and Gratien announced her return with a 3-pointer of her own.
The real comeback came in the fourth quarter, as Cohen hit on six consecutive points and short jumpers by \\Maycumber and Jessica Kramer gave J-D its first lead of the night, 38-37, with less than four minutes left.
From there, it seesawed, both sides making big defensive stops. When Maycumber hit another lay-up with 1:18 left, J-D led 42-39, and with Cohen's well-known free-throw shooting prowess, the lead looked secure.
After Cortland's top player, Shannon Finucane, hit on a driving lay-up with 33 seconds left to make it 42-41, the Purple Tigers fouled Cohen. Faced with a one-and-one situation, Cohen saw the front end slide off the rim, and the Purple Tigers rebounded.
Again with the ball in her hands, Finucane drew a foul with 15.6 seconds to play. Unlike Cohen, Fincuane sank her free throws, inching Cortland in front.