Melanie Johnson's free-throws with 23 seconds left held up against the Bulldogs

The College of Staten Island women’s basketball squad used an astounding second half comeback, erasing a 14-point halftime deficit to score a 67-65 win over visiting Brooklyn College, 67-65, in CUNYAC play at the Sports & Recreation Center this afternoon.  CSI improved to 2-3 overall and 2-0 in the conference while Brooklyn fell to 4-2, 0-1, respectively.

The Bulldogs looked like they were on their way to a cruising victory when they took a 40-26 lead into intermission, sparked by what was a numbing 23-4 run that spanned almost 9 first half minutes.  Before that, CSI had a modest 15-13 lead in what began as a see-saw start.  Lisa Galasso and Nikki Fabozzi both scored a pair of baskets and three-point plays to spark the early lead before Brooklyn took over momentum.  A Brittany Bowen lay-up gave the visitors a 17-15 advantage, and then the Bulldog run continued, sparked by another pair of Bowen and Tiffany Thompson baskets.  CSI’s final seven points of the frame came via the free-throw line, but a Nicole Francomano lay-in runner with one second to play put the visitors up by 14 at the break, seemingly in control.

The Dolphins, however, had other plans in the second half.  CSI started the stanza with three-pointers from Olivia Tierno, Megan Mhyre, and Fabozzi, knocking the deficit to seven, 43-36, with 17:33 to go.  A T’Keyah Francis lay-up put BC up again by double-digits, 48-38, but CSI rallied again with a 9-1 run, sparked by another pair of baskets from Mhyre.

From there, CSI tried to wrestle the lead away, and it took quite some time to do.  The Dolphins cut the lead to a single possession on five more occasions before cracking through for the lead on another Mhyre three-ball with 3:27, to make the score 60-59.  A transition lay-up gave CSI a 62-59 lead one possession later, but a minute later, at 1:45, a Thompson lay-up knotted the game again at 63-63.  Bowen then answered the call for BC, driving through the lane and banking in a lay-up at 1:17 to stake BC to a 65-63 lead.  CSI countered immediately when Fabozzi found an open Tierno in the lane, and the senior sank her lay-up to tie the game for the 10th time, with 1:02 remaining.

With seconds slipping away, Vanessa D’Ambrosi missed a trey for the Bulldogs and with 36 seconds remaining and CSI with the ball, BC asked for a time-out.  CSI called their play and newcomer Melanie Johnson, playing in her first game for CSI answered the call.  The junior transfer was able to bring in an offensive rebound off of a Mhyre miss, and was fouled by Thompson going to the lane.  On the line for two shots, she calmly sank both shots for the 67-65 edge with 23 ticks to go.

Brooklyn had their chance to tie and it was a good one.  D’Ambrosi powered through the lane, but her lay-up at 10 seconds left banged around the rim but fell aside.  D’Ambrosi was able to wrestle away an offensive rebound after a scramble, but her off-balance put-back as time expired was well off, and CSI held on to earn the comeback win.

CSI, which shot a chilly 24% in the first half, responded by shooting 48.3% in the second frame, finishing 20-of-54 from the floor at 37%.  BC shot 35.9%.  BC held the edge on the glass, 46-37, but also committed a heavy 26 turnovers.

The Dolphins were led by Mhyre’s 16 points on 6-of-18 shooting.  Johnson added 15 points and six assists, with Fabozzi posting up 12 points and a team-high 9 rebounds to go with six assists.  Bowen was terrific for the Bulldogs in the loss, posting 26 points to go with five rebounds and a trio of assists.  Thompson added 10 points and game-high 13 rebounds.

CSI is next in action on Monday evening, when they travel to take on Purchase State College for a 6pm, non-conference affair.