The College of Staten Island women’s basketball team ushered in their entrance into the CUNYAC/Army ROTC Women’s Basketball Postseason Basketball Tournament with a suffocating defensive performance that fueled a 66-49 win over visiting Hunter College as part of 2nd-Round play at the Sports & Recreation Center this afternoon. The win catapulted the 18-7 Dolphins to a semifinal date with Brooklyn College on Wednesday at neutral site CCNY, one step closer to a championship. The Hawks finalized their season at 10-17.
The victory by the Dolphins masked a subpar shooting performance, as CSI connected on just 29.2% from the floor and a chilly 21.1% from beyond the arc in the contest. Defensively, however, the Dolphins shined, forcing 34 Hunter turnovers (25 in the first half alone) to seize momentum midway through the first quarter and coasting from there.
Both teams struggled to find offensive rhythm in the first stanza, and after five minutes, the team were deadlocked at 8-8. After another three-minute scoring drought, HC’s Ayanna Hudson powered to her third field goal of the quarter to give the visitors the lead, but it would prove to be their last, as CSI finished the frame on a 13-0 run over the final 2:07 to break away. CSI senior Victoria Gallinaro started with a three-pointer from the baseline after a turnover, and then after a Gallinaro turnover, Christina Pasaturo went for an easy lay-up to extend the lead. Another HC turnover followed and CSI cashed in with a Samantha Flecker lay-in, and then CSI added another six points, four at the free-throw line, all off of HC turnovers.
CSI extended to 24-10, until the Hawks finally ended their 4:25 scoring drought with a Selina Lim running jumper. That fueled a 10-0 spurt for the visitors that squeezed the lead to just four at 3:21 to go, but again, CSI caught fire late in the period, ending the half on a 10-3 run to secure a 34-23 halftime edge, sparked by an Angelique Price buzzer-beating jumper from just inside the arc.
CSI’s defense helped carry the way for the rest of the game, as Hunter was contested on every possession, and even though the Dolphins had their own offensive frustrations, the team used another powerful 15-3 run in the final 6:21 of the third quarter to blow the game open, 52-31. It was smooth sailing from there for the Dolphins, who sealed the game with clutch free-throw shooting from Pasaturo, who finished a perfect 10-10 from the stripe and Flecker, who was 7-9. CSI led by as many as 26, 61-35, before settling for the 66-49 win.
Leading the way for the Dolphins was Pasaturo’s 21 points, followed closely by the CUNYAC/Army ROTC Player of the Game Flecker, who notched a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds in a full 40 minutes. Gallinaro added 13 points, six rebounds and six steals as well in a tremendous defensive performance. Lim came off of the bench to lead Hunter with 12 points, adding five rebounds, while Hudson posted 10 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. CSI was out-rebounded, 47-41, but held an advantage on the offensive glass, 17-11, and were a plus-22 in the turnover column.
Earning a share of the CUNYAC Regular Season Championship, CSI was awarded the No. 3 seed based on tiebreakers with both Lehman College and Brooklyn College. Those two squads earned automatic byes into the Semifinal Round on Wednesday. CSI will play Brooklyn at 8pm on Wednesday, while Lehman will play the winner of CCNY/York College, at 6pm. The two winners on Wednesday will square off in the CUNYAC/Army ROTC Women’s Basketball Postseason Tournament Championship on Friday at 6pm.
Tickets to the Semifinal Round on Wednesday at City College of New York are FREE, but fans will need tickets to enter. Tickets can be obtained through the CUNYAC website at www.cunyathletics.com, or by clicking here.