The College of Staten Island women’s basketball team will tip off its season tonight, with championship hopes abound.  They’ll start on the road, traveling to St. Joseph’s College of Brooklyn to take on the Bears in what is the season-opener for both units at 7pm.  CSI finished with over 20 wins a year ago, winning their first CUNYAC Championship in 12 years that carried a trip to the NCAA National Championship Tournament.  The Bears meanwhile, are looking to build on a 9-16 campaign from a year ago.

Matchup:  CSI (0-0)  vs. St. Joseph’s – BK (0-0)
Where: The Hill Center – 212 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
All-Time Series: CSI leads 17-1
Last Meeting: November 22, 2016 – CSI won 77-60 
Players to Watch (CSI): The Dolphins are returning a host of talent in 2017-18, including CUNYAC Preseason Player of the Year and Preseason all-America Honorable Mention Christina Pasaturo, who last year set CSI single season records for points and three-pointers, ranking among the national NCAA leaders in that category as well.  Samantha Flecker is also on hand, chasing 1,000 career points after a sensational junior season that saw her post 15.3 per game and the team lead in rebounds with 8.8 per contest.  Fellow seniors Victoria Crea and Angelique Price fill out a backcourt teeming with experience.  Look for first-year player Diana Todaro to make an impact for CSI.  Today missed the entire 2016-17 season, but played for Kean University in 2015-16, where she was named to the NJAC All-Rookie team.
Players to Watch (SJC-BK): The Bears are a young and hungry unit featuring no seniors and just five juniors on a squad of 13 players.  Despite the youth, SJC returns five of its top six scorers from a year ago, so expect the Bears to hit the ground running led by Victoria Porcasi, who put up 15.3 points per game a year ago and led the team with 52 three-pointers.  Lauren Quesada is an inside threat who led the Bears with a 7.8 rebounds per game average while averaging over 10 markers per game.  Caitlyn Staab is another interior threat who is looking to build on her 22 minutes per contest a year ago, also averaging in double figures in the scoring column.
News & Notes: The Dolphins and Bears have been meeting almost yearly since 2001, only missing one-another during the 2013-14 season.  It’s been a series dominated by the Dolphins as they have taken 17 of the 18 overall matchups and are now on a four-game win streak.  CSI is 7-1 all-time when playing at SJC, and they’ve taken the last two meetings when playing on the road over the Bears, although one of those games was played at the Barclay’s Center in 2014.  CSI has won the last two meetings by 17 points, including a 77-60 decision in Staten Island last year.   CSI was led by Angelique Price’s 13 points in the game despite only playing 17 minutes.  Gina Hopkins led SJC with 16 points while Quesada put up 12 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double.  The story of the game for the Dolphins was their defense, as they forced 31 Bears turnovers and were a +15 in that category.  Look for CSI’s calling card of creating turnovers to be a key tonight, while the Bears will look to their work on the boards to guide them.  Last year, the Bears ranked 64th in the nation in rebounds per game with over 43 per contest.  They out-rebounded CSI, 42-41 in their last meeting, and would like to improve on that number tonight.