The College of Staten Island women’s basketball squad got off to a winning start in 2011-12, using an unprecedented comeback to ward off Purchase State, 46-44, in the season opener for both team’s at the Sports & Recreation Center this evening.  The win brings the Dolphins to 1-0 on the season and 5-0 all-time against the Purchase, while the Panthers slipped to 0-1.

Despite the fact that CSI had to rally, it was the home side that got off to the early lead, staking themselves to an 8-2 lead after 3:12, sparked by a three-pointer and follow-up layup by freshman Nikki Fabozzi.  The lead was short-lived, however, as Purchase used a Rachel Perrone layup to post an 8-0 run to take a 10-8 lead.  CSI’s final lead of the frame was at 13-12 on a three-ball by Nicole Quattrocchi, and from there, Purchase started to take control.  As CSI shot a dismal 2-for-17 with a hefty 10 turnovers over an 11:18 stretch, Purchase assumed a 28-19 lead at halftime, driven by Perrone’s 13 points and 9 rebounds.

Another three by Fabozzi  in the early stages of the second stanza cut the lead to single digits, but Jessica Perrone’s free-throws but Purchase up 32-22, starting an 8-0 run that gave the Panthers their biggest lead, 38-22 with 13:08 remaining.  From there, took their time chipping away at the lead.  Five straight points by sophomore Rachel Rosado cut the Purchase lead to 38-33 with 8:31 to go, and after three free-throws by Alyssa Guido, CSI answered again later with two straight baskets by Katelyn Hepworth to help cut the lead to a single possession, 43-40, with 4:32 to go.

Hepworth would foul out shortly after, and Jessica Perrone would make one free-throw at 4:12 to give the visitors a 44-40 advantage.  CSI couldn’t take advantage of Purchase fouls as Fabozzi missed two front-ends of one-and-one’s, but an offensive rebound by Rosado and feed to frosh Jennifer Coughlan led to a basket to cut the lead to 44-42 with 3:09 to play.

Rosado then shined again, forcing a turnover and converting a jumper with 2:02 to go to tie the game.  The teams then traded misses and a Coughlan rebound led to a trip down the floor for the Dolphins with fewer than 40 ticks to play.  Working their half-court offense Fabozzi found Rosado with a small window of room and the second-half hero calmly sank another jumper to give CSI the 46-44 edge with 34 seconds left.

CSI wasn’t out of the woods, even after an Alexis Billups turnover with 21seconds left.  A foul by  Jessica Perrone put Fabozzi at the line, but the frosh missed both ends of her free-throws and Purchase scurried up the floor.  The visitors nearly turned the ball over twice and finally Alyse LaPadula’s three point heave was after the buzzer sounded and did not count, even though the shot rang off the rim wide anyway.

The competitive was marred by early-season poor shooting, as CSI shot just 30.2% (19-63) next to Purchase’s 27.5% (14-51).  The Panthers did a host of damage at the free-throw line, connecting on 15-of-20 shots while CSI was a disappointing 3-for-11 (27.3%).  CSI held the slight edge in rebounds, 45-44, and forced 26 Purchase turnovers next to their own 25.

Next up for CSI will be a trip to Boston , Massachusetts to participate in UMass-Boston’s Tip-Off Tournament.  CSI will take on Framingham State on Friday at 7:30pm to open things up with consolation and championship games to follow on Saturday.