DOLPHINS QUEST FOR ECAC CHAMPIONSHIP ENDS AT BROOKLYN, 59-55

The College of Staten Island women’s basketball team fell for the third time this season at the hands of Brooklyn College, this time as part of the ECAC Metro NY/NJ / Upstate Championship, in a defensive, 59-55, affair in Brooklyn this afternoon.  For the Bulldogs it spelled their second-straight ECAC Championship, while the Dolphins finalized their season at 19-9.

In a game that saw Brooklyn lead wire-to-wire, the Bulldogs used their dominance on the boards as the difference, out-rebounding CSI, 55-34, resulting in a 32-16 scoring advantage in the paint, and a 22-12 advantage in second chance points.  Held to the perimeter for much of the game, the Dolphins shot just 33% and kept clawing back in the contest only to see Brooklyn shut the door time and again.

The Bulldogs got off to a flying start, racing out to a 16-4 first quarter lead after the game’s first eight minutes.  The Dolphins managed to catch a little fire from there, as Angelique Price powered for a drive and Christina Pasaturo buried a three to make it 16-9 at the end of the first quarter.  Twanda Holder had six points for Brooklyn in the period, while Karen Mak canned five points, including a three.

That set the tone for the rest of the game, as CSI tried in vain to pose numerous comebacks only to find a resilient Brooklyn team answering each challenge.  The Dolphins cut the BC lead to three on three occasions and with inside of a minute to go in the half, Pasaturo buried another three to make it a 26-24 game, but Maya Ajee-Thomas immediately responded with a lay-up and after a CSI turnover, BC was able to get into half with a six-point lead thanks to a Mak layup at the buzzer.

Much like they did to start the game, BC started red-hot to start the second half, rolling to an opening 7-0 run to widen the gap to 37-24, Olivia Colbert started it with a three-point play.  Again, the Dolphins would muster a comeback, cutting the lead to two, after a 13-2 run over the next four minutes.  Samantha Flecker powered for two lay-ups and seniors Victoria Gallinaro and Jamie Pifalo added long-range shots.  Again, BC had an answer, powering on the inside was Ajee-Thomas with another three-point play, and after a CSI miss, BC’s Taylor Gallagher net two free-throws to make it a three possession game.  CSI fell cold from there, falling by eight, 46-38, at the end of the third period.

BC would resume a double-digit lead midway through the fourth quarter, but CSI posed more threats.  With 3:28 to go, Pasaturo powered for a layup to cut the lead to 53-47.  BC turned the ball over immediately, but CSI would then miss an open layup, and on the other end, BC would score three offensive rebounds and finally score with 2:19 to go to take a lot of the wind out of CSI’s sails.

With inside of a minute to go, CSI would cut the lead down to as few as four, but BC responded with tremendous free-throw shooting all afternoon long and it was enough to ward off the finish and hold BC to a 59-55 win.

After a huge game against the Dolphins in the CUNYAC Semifinals, Mak added another great performance in the Final and was awarded MVP honors, turning in a 17-point, 10-rebound afternoon, adding four assists.  Colbert also added a double-double, posting 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Ajee-Thomas recorded 13 points.  CSI was paced by Pasaturo’s 18 points and seven rebounds, while Flecker accumulated 16 points and seven boards.  CSI was a plus-eight in the turnover column, but shot an anemic 5-of-24 from three point range (21%).

This was the fourth meeting between the two teams this season, with Brooklyn having taken three of the wins by a combined 16 points.  This marked their first meeting in ECAC play in their history, and it’s the first back-to-back title for Brooklyn.  CSI’s only ECAC title came in 2009, the last time before today that made the trip to the Final.

 

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