DOLPHINS STORM PAST LIGHTNING TO GAIN CUNYAC FINAL, 69-43

For the first time since the 2005-06 season, the College of Staten Island women’s basketball team will be playing for a CUNYAC Championship, as they were able to motor past defending champ and No. 2 seeded Lehman College by a 69-43 count at the Nat Holman Gymnasium at CCNY in semifinal play.  CSI (21-6) will face of against No. 1 Brooklyn College Friday night at 6pm at CCNY for the rights to the title.  Brooklyn was a winner over No. 4 CCNY earlier in the evening.

The Dolphins avenged a loss to Lehman on the regular season’s final day, a game that knocked CSI out of first place in the standings.  This time the Dolphins led from the jump, as CSI used a pair of three-pointers from Angelique Price and Christina Pasaturo to help get out to an 8-0 edge before a Lightning response.  Even still, CSI’s suffocating defense would only allow Lehman six first-quarter points, and CSI used a pair of Samantha Flecker baskets to assume a 17-4 lead en route to a 20-6 edge at the end of one stanza.

Lehman picked up the offensive tempo, and midway through the second quarter, CSI led only 23-14, powered by two Krystal Pearson inside drives.  CSI snapped back, however, with back-to-back three’s from Pasaturo, giving the Dolphins a 29-16 edge.  Lehman knocked the lead down to 10 with two minutes to play in the half, but two more three’s this time by Price and Flecker, popped CSI’s lead back to 14, 37-23, at the break.

Needing 20 minutes to secure a championship berth, CSI went back to their defense and did an outstanding job earning second and third chances in the third quarter.  The Dolphins went cold from the floor themselves, but after a long scoring lull, CSI still maintained a big lead, aided by horrendous Lehman shooting that saw the Lightning shoot just 1-14 from the floor with four turnovers in the frame.  Up 41-26, neither team could score for over five minutes, but when the pace picked up CSI went on a mini 5-0 spurt to take a 46-26 lead after three quarters.

A lay-up by Flecker and then another three by Pasaturo improved CSI’s run to 10-0 since the third, giving CSI a 51-26 lead in the early stages of the fourth.  From there, the Dolphins were on cruise control, as Lehman continued to stay mired in cold shooting and the Dolphins drained the shot clock on numerous occasions before settling for shots.  The Dolphins went up by as many as 28 on three occasions, the last at 3:11, 61-33.  Lehman proceeded to rip off an 8-0 run to knock the lead down to 20, before CSI ultimately settled for a 69-43 win.

Angelique Price led all Dolphins with 19 points.  For Pasaturo, her streak of 20 points in games ended, as she fired in 15 markers, but added a career-high 20 rebounds in the win, as CSI out-rebounded Lehman overall, 58-31.  Ayanna Behagen led all Lightning scorers with 14 points while CUNYAC leading scorer Amely Del Rosario was held relatively quiet with seven points and five rebounds.  Lehman shot a chilly 26.2% and while CSI shot just 35.7%, the Dolphins shot 8-17 from three point range (47.1%).

The Dolphins will be looking to avenge another regular-season loss on Friday when they tangle with Brooklyn College for the CUNYAC Championship.  Both teams won on their home floors against the other during the regular season.  Their meeting in the Final is the first in program history.  Tip-off time will be 6:00pm.

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