The College of Staten Island women’s basketball squad fell to Lehman College 76-69 this afternoon in a back-and-forth affair at the CSI Sports & Rec Center in Staten Island, NY.  The Dolphins fell to 8-6 overall and 4-2 in the CUNYAC while the Lightning improved to 9-5 overall and 4-1 in the CUNYAC.
It took two minutes in the first quarter before the first basket was made.  The Dolphins found themselves on the scoreboard first with a Victoria Gallinaro three-point shot.  Gallinaro would not stop there as she would go on to drain back-to-back three’s to give her team an early 9-2 lead.  Nicole Vierno got going early as well and used her size advantage inside to get two easy baskets to extend the Dolphins’ lead to 13-4.
The Lightning would quickly make some adjustments to shut down Gallinaro and limit the inside game of Vierno.  With the adjustments the Dolphins were forced to take low percentage shots which opened the door for a Lightning comeback.  Lehman would go on an 11-1 run and take the lead from Staten Island.  The Dolphins were able to tie the game up towards the end of the quarter when Christina Pasaturo would rebound her own missed three for and put it back in.
After their first quarter defensive meltdown the Dolphins were never able to regain the lead in the first half of the game but were able to keep it within a manageable margin.  Jamie Pifalo was a rebounding machine in the first half of the game as she was able to grab eight rebounds. If anything came near Vierno in the first half there was a good chance that she was going to swat it away as she amassed six which already set a career high. 
Amani Lightbourne came alive in the second quarter and dropped in six points which was a team high in that quarter. 
The Dolphins exploded in the third quarter for 21 points while holding the Lightning to just 11. Staten Island’s stingy defense came out in the third and allowed the women to find their way back into the game. 
It took the whole third quarter for the Dolphins to battle back and eventually take the lead.  The Dolphins were able to use their defense to score points as the turnover they forced turned into six points.  CSI tied the Lightning with 2:50 remaining in the quarter and from there it was a back-and-forth battle until the end of the quarter where the Dolphins would eventually walk off with a two point lead.
The Lightning would immediately tie it up for the sixth time in this game when Yarmese Jones was able to find her way into the paint and put one in off of the backboard.  Pasaturo who was quiet in the first half started to really show her dominance here late in the game as she drained one of her three’s with 5:55 remaining in the game. 
The Dolphins would then go scoreless for three minutes as they cooled off and were unable to find the bottom of the net and missed 10 of their final 12 shots from the field.  Vierno was able to hit a free throw however that was not enough to get the Dolphins going again as the Lightning were able to go on a 15-2 run at the end of the game to seal the deal and walk out with a road win.
Pasaturo recorded her third double-double of the season (20pts, 12 reb) and was just two assists shy of her first career triple-double. Samantha Flecker also recorded a double-double (11pts, 12 reb), her sixth of the season, before being forced out of the game due to an injury.  Gallinaro would finish the game with 10 points, 9 of which came in the first three minutes of the game.  Vierno finished with 18 which is the second highest she’s scored all year.
The Dolphins’ free-throw struggles were once again on display tonight as they make just 14 of 26 (53%) and has been their Achilles heel all year long.
The Dolphins are slated to take on York College in Jamaica, NY on Wednesday in another CUNYAC match up at 6:00 PM.