The College of Staten Island women’s basketball team surrendered a huge lead, and then avoided a deficit of their own in overtime, to survive a 79-76 decision against Brooklyn College in CUNYAC play at the Sports & Recreation Center this afternoon.  The win, CSI’s eighth straight and their second overtime win in their last three games, lifts the team to 15-3 overall and a perfect 10-0 in the CUNYAC, while Brooklyn fell to marks of 12-4, 6-2, respectively.

With defense the key, CSI forced the Bulldogs into just 23% in the game’s first half, building up a huge 24-point lead at one point.  It started with an 8-1 run to start the game, powered by a pair of Megan Myhre three’s.  Then, after a T’Keyah Francis bucket for BC, CSI exploded for an 8-0 run, ended with yet another Myhre three-ball.  After the game’s first 10 minutes, the Dolphins held a 12-point, 23-11 lead, but again the home team surged, using three Katelyn Hepworth lay-ups and a Melanie Johnson three to post another 11-0 run, ballooning the lead to 34-11 with 7:11 to go.

BC managed to get into the locker room down by 20, 43-23, but from the second half on, the game was about the Bulldogs clawing their way back.

The visitors started on a 7-2 spurt to start the frame, and after trading a series of baskets, BC went on a pivotal 19-7 run n over nearly eight minutes to get back to within single digits, 64-55, with 5:49 to go.  BC’s Nicole Francomano was the catalyst, cutting to the inside and earning quality chances and dishing to her teammates for open looks.  

With less than five minutes to play, BC made their most impressive run.  After Myhre nailed a pair of free-throws to put CSI back up by 11, BC went on a 10-0 bender, aided by a pair of Francomano inside drives and a Megan Campbell three to close to within one, 67-66, with 2:39 to play.  A Hepworth jumper for CSI put the Dolphins back up, 69-66, but Francis countered with a lay-up to make it 69-68 with one minute left.  That set up a feverish finish.  Both teams missed opportunities and with the clock winding down Francomano drove for another lay-up.  She was fouled on the play, but her made basket, that would have put BC up by one was waved off, and so instead of the lead, BC was still down one with Francomano at the line with just three seconds to play.  Francomano made just one of two freebies to tie the game and CSI missed a long three at the buzzer, forcing the game to overtime.

BC had momentum going into the extra frame, and after CSI grabbed an early lead via free-throws, BC would score the next four points to take a 73-71 lead with 3:20 to go in the extra session, their first lead of the game.  Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, CSI had room for another comeback.  After going relatively cold in the second half, Myhre buried a long-range three 14 seconds after BC took the lead, giving CSI the lead back, 74-73.  ON BC’s next trip up the floor, Campbell delivered with a long jumper to swing the lead back to BC, 75-74.  A poised CSI stayed calm and with the shot clock running down on their next series, Johnson popped in a three-pointer from the top of the arc to give CSI a 77-75 edge with exactly two minutes left, and CSI would never trail again.

BC did have their chances.  On BC’s next series Francomano made only one of two free-throws, and the Bulldogs did get the ball again with 23 seconds to play down by one, but Carissa Wiiliams would miss a three point basket and CSI was able to track down the rebound and find a wide-open Johnson for an easy layup that gave CSI the 79-76 lead with just 3.2 seconds to play.  A Francomano shot from half-court was nowhere close at the end, giving the CSI the win by the 79-76 final.

Leading the way for the Dolphins was Myhre’s 26 points on 7-12 shooting from beyond the arc, adding seven rebounds.  Johnson chimed in with 24 points and eight rebounds.  Hepworth, who had fouled out and missed the overtime session, finalized with 15 points and eight rebounds.  BC’s Francomano led the Bulldogs with 18 points adding eight rebounds.  Campbell finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds while Williams finished with 15 points.  Francis had a monster 19 rebounds over eight points.  Brooklyn outrebounded CSI, 68050, including a whopping 33-12 edge on the offensive glass.  That resulted in 24 more shots for the visitors, but their paltry 28.6% kept them from advancing.  CSI finished shooting just 35.8%, but still managed to make two fewer field goals on 24 less attempts.

CSI will get back to action on Wednesday, January 29, when they travel to City College of New York for a clash with the Beavers at 5pm.