The College of Staten Island women’s basketball squad improved to two games over .500 for the first time this season, winning their fifth-straight game in the process by virtue of a 58-54 victory over Hunter College in Manhattan tonight as part of CUNYAC play.  CSI improved to 10-8 overall and 7-2 within the CUNYAC, while the Hawks, losing for the fifth time in the last six games, fell to 6-12, 3-6, respectively.

The teams wrestled the entire way in tonight’s contest, with both teams seeing their turns with the lead on a number of occasions, especially in the opening stanza.  A Victoria Gallinaro three-pointer got CSI started on the first of seven first-half lead changes, staking CSI to a lead before Joey Chan put HC back up in the opening two minutes.

Down by four, CSI made its most decisive first half run at 14:06, going on a 14-2 spree over the next six minutes.  Victoria Crea connected on a pair of baskets and Jamie Pifalo canned two three’s in the run that gave CSI a 24-16 lead. The Hawks would not go quietly, however, answering with an 8-1 run of their own before CSI finally settled for a 28-26 halftime edge.

 To open the second half, the Hawks scored the opening basket, tying the game at 28-28 and from there the game was open for the taking.  CSI was the team that answered the call, going on an immediate 7-0 run, capped by a Crea three-pointer to make it 35-28 with 16:39 left.  CSI never trailed from there.

Hunter would knock the lead down to one on four occasions but each time CSI used a big bucket or free throws to go back on top.  In the most decisive moments of the game, a Kristen Markoe lay-up tied the score at 50-50 with 3:19 to go, but Crea again responded for CSI, driving to the lane and scoring a bucket while getting fouled to put CSI back in front, completing the three-point play.  After a Hunter basket, CSI’s Christina Pasaturo canned a three to make it 56-52 with just 58 ticks to go.

Forced to foul, CSI made a pair of free throws at the end to wrap things up, 58-54.

Leading the way for CSI was Crea with 21 points, adding five rebounds.  Pasaturo finished with 12 and Gallinaro 11 for the winners, while Chan posted 21 in defeat for the Hawks.  Hunter shot 45% from the field next to CSI’s 31% but the home team took 17 less shots, thanks largely to CSI’s +17 in the turnover column, forcing 25 Hunter turnovers to their own eight.

CSI will now have a week-long break before they resume action again when they host John Jay College on Wednesday, January 28, at 5:30pm at the Sports & Recreation Center.