The College of Staten Island men’s and women’s basketball programs have spent the better of the last four months preparing for this weekend, as the teams get set for entry into the 46th Annual CUNYAC/Con Edison Postseason Championships for a pair of unique quarterfinal matches.  The CSI women (8-16 overall, 6-7 CUNY) have earned the seventh seed in their eight-team draw, and will travel to No. 2 Brooklyn College (15-10, 11-2) on Saturday afternoon, while the top-ranked CSI men (15-9, 10-3) will host No. 8 John Jay College (9-16, 3-10) on Sunday.  Both games are slated for 1pm tip-offs.
Suffering through only their second sub-.500 season under Head Coach Marguerite Moran, the Dolphins have recently seen a season-long three-game win skein cut down in a pair of season-ending losses.  The Dolphins did finish a respectable 6-7 in the CUNYAC, following a 3-6 start to conference play.  The team was hit hard by the loss of dynamic sophomore Olivia Tierno, who has missed the last seven games after averaging 14.1 points and 2.4 rebounds per contest.
The team is paced by senior statistical leader Allie Shanahan, who is among the CUNYAC leaders with a 17.8 per game scoring average, adding 9.4 rebounds per game as well.  The 1st-team CUNYAC All-Star has broken the CSI single season record for most three-point attempts in a season (202) and her 63 three-pointers are good for 6th all-time in a single season.  Sophomore Katelyn Hepworth is the teams’ primary inside threat, averaging just under a double-double with 12.7 points and 9.8 caroms per game.  CSI is averaging 58.7 points per game this season, the lowest since Moran took over the program in 1998-99.
Brooklyn College soared in both season meetings between the two sides, erasing a two-point halftime deficit to win 67-57 in Brooklyn on January 8, then toppling CSI in convincing fashion at the Sports & Recreation Center just eight days ago, 82-59.  The Dolphins had won 29 straight in the series before the Bulldogs have since won the last four meetings.  Despite a storied rivalry, Saturday’s quarterfinal matinee will only mark the second postseason meeting all time between the teams.  CSI took a lop-sided, 79-39, win over Brooklyn in a 2005 quarterfinal game en route to the CUNYAC Championship that same year.
The winner of the CSI-Brooklyn matchup will face the winner of No. 3 Lehman College vs. No. 6 Hunter College on Tuesday at 8pm at The City College of New York.  In other quarterfinal matches top-seeded Baruch College will face No. 8 CCNY, while No. 4 John Jay College will host No. 5 York College.
The CSI men have turned around their fortunes in 2010-11 and are looking for a promising run through the tournament that will begin Sunday against John Jay.  Having earned the No. 8 seeding the previous two years, the Dolphins have secured the No. 1 seeding for the first time since the 2003-04 season and will host their first quarterfinal game since 2007-08, ironically, a 63-59 loss to John Jay in a year the Bloodhounds would win the conference.
CSI, improved in nearly every statistical category from a season ago, have four players averaging double figures, led by 1st-team CUNYAC All-Star Jordan Young’s 15.9 points per contest.  The junior and former CUNYAC Rookie of the Year is also leading the CSI field with a 7.2 rebounds per game average, having recently become the 14th Dolphins player in history to eclipse the 1,000-point/500-rebound plateau.  Backcourt mate Thomas “T.J.” Tibbs, an academic junior playing his first collegiate basketball is averaging 14.5 points per contest and is among the NCAA national leaders in assists (125, 5.1pg), and three-point percentage (42.2%).  Dale Taranto, who has also made every start this season, averages 11.9 points per game while placing second on the team with 5.5 rebounds per game while posting a team-high 58 steals.
Sixth man Bloochy Magliore has scorched opponents to the tune of 14.7 points per contest, joining Tibbs as a downtown threat sporting an even 40% shot from behind-the-arc.  Together with powerful inside threats David Hughes (7.9 ppg., 3.7 rpg.,) Matthew Van Manen (5.7 ppg., 4.6 rpg.,), and Louis Valdes (3.8 ppg., 1.2 rpg.), this year’s Dolphins have been tough to stop.
The challenge for the Dolphins, however, will be to stop the bleeding of a recent slump, as the team has dropped five of their last six contests, including three of their last four CUNYAC tilts.  CSI started the year by ripping off their first 9 CUNYAC wins for the first time since 1988-89.  One of the wins was against the Bloodhounds at John Jay, a 90-79 win.  For the Dolphins, it was their fourth win in the last seven meetings over the Bloodhounds.  CSI is 6-3 all-time over John Jay in playoff meetings, but the Bloodhounds have won the last two playoff meetings.  Prior to the 2007 quarterfinal, John Jay also posted a 61-58 quarterfinal win over CSI in 2005.  Between 2000-2008, John Jay and CSI played 10 games all decided by eight points or less.
The winner of CSI-John Jay will face the winner of No. 4 Brooklyn vs. No. 5 York on Wednesday evening at 6pm at The City College of New York.  In other quarterfinal matches No. 2 Medgar Evers College will host No. 7 Lehman, while No. 3 Baruch will take on No. 6 Hunter.