* Saturday was a typically active and important February day around the region as playoff positioning comes into focus. The report starts with a comeback win for Queens amid another milestone for one of the best players in all of Division II...
* Madison Rowland became the all-time leading scorers at Queens as the Knights rallied to knock off St. Thomas Aquinas in Flushing, 67-58, and clinch a share of the ECC title. Rowland (21 points, 10 boards) passed Shalonda Young for the top spot on the QC scoring list (2,182 points and counting) and is closing in on a century of rebounds, too (991 at the moment). Her production was vital as QC found themselves down by a 50-39 count late in the third period after a 17-3 Spartan explosion. Rowland sank a pair of treys to close the frame (50-45) but they were still in a 55-50 hole when they came up with the killer run. 9-0 and 8-0 sprees, separated by a single STAC free throw, put the Knights ahead 67-56 in the final minute and decided the outcome. The win, QC's thirteenth in a row and the second comeback win over the Spartans, was also fueled by good games from MacKenzie Rowland (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Merrick Rowland (13 points). Jenna Erickson (23 points, 4-7 3FG) and Kellyann Averill (14 points) led the way for STAC, who despite the loss still hold third place on the ECC ladder.
* One of the few 'upsets' of the day saw Bridgeport revive their flagging ECC playoff hopes with a 71-65 win over Molloy, ending a three-game slide. The game was predictably close (nine ties, seven lead changes, the teams never separated by more than six points) with the Lions ahead at the half, 25-22. A 12-2 burst helped the Purple Knights claim a 48-46 edge after three frame and the teams traded the lead until the 4:13 mark, when Aurelie Leblanc-Florent (15 points, 4-7 3FG) drilled a three-pointer to send UB ahead for keeps, 58-57. The hoop kicked off a 9-2 spell (UB, 65-59, 1:23) but Molloy closed the gap to 68-65 in the dying seconds. Camera Miley (19 points, 11-11 FT) sank a pair of free throws and Leblanc-Florent adding another in the final seconds to wrap it up for Bridgeport and keep them in the race. Evelyn Ovner (12 points, 7 boards) and Anastasia Williams (8 points, 10 caroms) helped UB earn a 46-34 rebound bulge and the Purple Knights sank 20-22 at the line to help their effort. Aliyah McDonald (21 points) and Kamala Thompson (18 points) topped the Lions scoring but they had issues at the line (9-19 FT as a team). Nevertheless, Miolloy kept their half-game lead over St. Thomas Aquinas for second place in the ECC.
* Bloomfield rode Tianna Smith (20 points, 6 assists) and Zhane Robinson (16 points, 12 caroms) to a tight 60-54 CACC win over Goldey-Beacom to keep a share of the top spot in the North Division. Another close contest (six ties, eight lead changes and the teams always within seven points of each other) wasn't decided until a 7-0 Bears surge turned a deficit into a 55-50 lead with 3:20 left. Amanda McGrogan brought the Lightning within 55-53 thanks to a triple at the 2:53 mark but that was as close as GBC came in the final stages with a Robinson three-pointer with 12 ticks left wrapping up the scoring. Lexi Bruno (19 points) and Britani Bryson (15 points, 10 rebounds) keyed GBC, who stay in second place in the South Division despite the setback. BC shot a little better in this one (42%-34%) to help nail down their eighth consecutive victory.
* The CACC North race continues to be neck-and-neck as Caldwell did their part by wiping out Philadelphia on the road, 88-50, to grab win #20. The Cougars (dead-even with Bloomfield in the division) scored the first ten points and never looked back, racing to a 50-27 halftime edge en route to their fifth win on the spin. Kristen Drogsler (33 points, 11 boards, 8 assists) almost collected a triple-double while Andie Lennon (12 points, 5-6 FG) and Maura Kelty (11 points) also played well for Caldwell, which shot accurately in every area (57% FG, 12-23 3FG, 8-9 FT). Alynna Williams tossed in 11 points for the Rams but they shot terribly (27%) and lost their third in a row. Philadelphia sits two games out the last CACC South Division playoff slot with three games to go.
* All seven Northeast-10 home teams came out victorious on Saturday, including Northeast Division kingpin Bentley, a 74-35 winner over Franklin Pierce, their ninth win in succession. The Falcons led all the way, claiming a 33-23 halftime lead and then doubling it out of the gate in the third frame (43-23). By the time the third quarter was done the Falcons held a 55-27 lead and it was all but done. Jen Gemma (20 points, 7 rebounds), Monica Viapiano (career-high 12 points), Macchi Smith (12 points, 6 boards, 6 assists) and Victoria Lux (8 points, 10 caroms, 5 blocks) all shared the load for the Falcons, who shot 45% and totally dominated the paint (46-4). Cameryn Wilson (13 points) topped the Raven stat sheet but their shooting was awful (23%) and their wait for the league win continues.
* Adelphi never trailed in their 65-52 win over New Haven, galvanized by Sierra Clark (23 points, 6 rebounds) and three others with 12 points each. The Panthers (already NE-10 Southwest Division champions) won their fourth in a row by starting the game on an 18-4 binge and led 33-22 at the half. A 10-0 spree to start the fourth period (57-37) doubled AU's lead and secured the spoils. Sierra Schrader (8 boards), Simone Hodby (7 rebounds) and Calli Balfour (6 caroms) all added a dozen points for AU, while Katia Oge (14 points) and Alexandria Kerr (13 points) did the scoring for the Chargers. UNH's playoff hopes took a hit with the loss as they are two games out of the last spot.
* NYIT's recent upturn in form continued (they've won three in a row) but it took overtime for the Bears to repel the University of the District of Columbia, 86-83. Yet another tight game (fourteen ties and seventeen lead changes) was in NYIT's favor at the break (36-29) and after three periods (61-49) but a 15-4 Firebird run brought them within a point (65-64) with 5:15 left in regulation. After ties at 64, 71 and 73, Kaiya Coleman (15 points) gave UDC a 75-73 lead with 31 seconds left. Tiara Place (12 points) knotted things with :16 left and the game went to OT following a Shantrel Oliver (24 points, 11-12 FT) miss with :04 to go. The extra session was also close (+/- three points) with a Sofia Georgiadi (22 points, a career-best; 11 rebounds) bucket with four seconds left giving NYIT the lead for good, 85-83. A Firebird turnover led to a free throw that locked it up for the Bears. Shanice Allen (17 points), Margaret Knollmeyer (15 points, 11 boards) and Julie Williams (14 points) played well for the Bears, which made 27-33 at the line and grabbed eleven more rebounds (48-37). Tyra Coombs (20 points) and Kaylah Cooper (11 points) joined Oliver and Coleman in double-digits for the hard-luck Firebirds, who were also good at the line (21-24 FT). NYIT holds fifth place in the ECC thanks to the victory, right in the middle of a densely-packed conference.
* Two of the three teams that entered play tied for second place in the NE-10 Northeast Division met in Manchester, with St. Anselm pulling out a 60-55 decision over St. Michael's. The teams swapped periods of strong play and after three quarters it was a 38-37 Hawks lead. The Purple Knights enjoyed their last lead with 3:25 left, 50-48, but St. A's grabbed the edge for good with the next seven points (55-50, 1:44) and dropped in 5-6 at the line in the final half-minute to make sure of the win. The surge was kicked off by a Caitlyn Abela trey (16 points), and she was aided by Candace Andrews (14 points, 5 assists) and Kaila Duarte (7 points, 12 caroms) for the Hawks. Emily Ferreri (16 points) and Samantha Delaney (9 points, 13 boards) were solid for SMC. Free throws, helped by the tail end of the game, were key for St. Anselm (13-16 FT; SMC 4-6 FT), who still share second place in the division with Assumption, while St. Michael's is alone in fourth place.
* Assumption kept their piece of second place in the NE-10 Northeast Division by beating Stonehill, 53-44, with a big third quarter at the heart of it. The Greyhounds led 24-22 at the intermission and it was still a two-point game before AC ended the third stanza on a 9-2 flurry to extend the gap to 40-31. The closest the Skyhawks came therafter was seven points but a 7-0 AC jag doubled their lead (51-37, 3:17) and salted the win away. Jo Impellizeri (18 points, 8-10 FG), Kelly Carey (14 points) and Allison Stoddard (11 points) jump-started the Assumption attack while Maty Diabate (14 points) and Samantha Hyslip (10 points, 9 caroms) sparked Stonehill. The Skyhawks hauled in more rebounds (37-30) but went 0-5 from three-point range and thus stay even with Merrimack for fifth place in the loop, the last playoff spot.
* The University of the Sciences won all four quarters en route to a 61-43 victory over Nyack, clinching at least a tie for the CACC South Division title. Jordan Vitelli (17 points, 5-9 3FG), Sarah Abbonizio (11 points) and Colleen Walsh (10 points) paced the Devils attack as they built a 28-22 halftime lead and stretched the margin to 44-29 after three frames. The closest the Warriors came in the final period was 48-40 but that was quickly followed by a 13-0 Devil explosion (including eleven free throws) to lock the win up. Sciences lived outside the arc (10-34 3FG; 8-15 2FG), fared well at the line (15-18 FT) and pulled in fifteen more rebounds (35-20) to assert their dominance. Torie Eggers (12 points) led the Nyack effort and they did shoot 41% overall but a lack of foul shots (4-7 FT) and subpar rebounding cost them a chance to end their losing skid (now at nine games).
* Roberts Wesleyan overcame a seventeen-point third quarter deficit to beat LIU Post, 78-70, and stay in fourth place in the ECC. The Pioneers led at the half by a 43-28 count and had the margin to 51-34 (6:39) before the Redhawks stirred. A 12-2 spurt cut the gap to 53-46 and it was a game again. LIU Post still led after three periods but an 8-0 RWC start to the final stanza gave them a 59-58 lead (5:37). The Pioneers stayed in the game and were within a point (69-68) with 2:24 left but the Redhawks closed with a flourish (9-2) to pick up the win and keep LIU Post outside of the ECC playoff structure. Necedah James (20 points), Brooke Fields (17 points, 6 boards), Emily Miller (14 points, 11 rebounds) and Taya Andrews (14 points) all played key roles for Roberts Wesleyan and they had a good day at the line (21-29 FT) and with the ball (11/10 assist/turnover ratio). Mikaiaya Moore (26 points, 9 caroms) and Kristen Olsen (15 points, 5-10 3FG) kept the Pioneers afloat but they were uanble to keep up with RWC at the line (7-13 FT) and dropped to eighth place in the loop.
* Dana Watts (32 points, 8 rebounds, 10-19 FG, 12-14 FT) was the dominant force for AIC, a 67-56 winner over Pace in Springfield. The Setters gave the Yellow Jackets a run and were within 34-29 after a hard-fought first half. AIC widened the lead to 50-41 after three periods and, after Pace chipped within 52-46, the Jackets salted the game away with a 9-3 spell (61-49, 2:16). Imani Stepney (9 points, 10 caroms) supported Watts for AIC, which fared well at the stripe (19-23 FT) and are closing in on clinching second place in the NE-10 Southwest Division. Kirsten Dodge (20 points, 9 rebounds) and Stefanie Svoboda (17 points) supplied the bulk of the Pace scoring but their foul shooting was awful (4-12 FT) and as a result the Setters fell to sixth place in the loop, out of a playoff poisition.
* Southern New Hampshire kept their faint playoff hopes alive with a 74-67 victory over Merrimack in the NE-10 Northeast Division. Both teams received career-high games from a bench player, with Brianna Camara (21 points) topping SNHU and Lindsay Werner (32 points, 5-10 3FG) leading the way for the Warriors. SNHU used an 18-5 first period run to take the lead for good but MC kept the pressure on as the game continued. It was just a 33-31 halftime margin but the Penmen closed the third period on an 11-2 jaunt to stretch the lead to 53-43. Merrimack came as close as five points in the fourth quarter but never caught SNHU. Sara Ryan (14 points), Victoria Dean (12 points) and Molly Terry (10 points) lent vital depth for the Penmen, who shot well (46% FG, 8-14 3FG) and committed only eight turnovers. Denia Davis-Stewart (11 rebounds) was solid in the paint for Merrimack but it wasn't their day. The Warriors are tied for fifth place in the division with Stonehill, three games ahead of the Penmen with three left to play.
* Southern Connecticut blasted to a 15-3 lead on the way to a start-to-finish win over the College of Saint Rose, 78-52. The victory puts the Owls into an NE-10 Southwest Divison playoff spot (fifth), a game behind sliding Saint Rose (on a four-game losing skid). SCSU won each quarter (33-19 at the half and 57-38 after three frames) behind big games from Taylor McLaughlin (28 points, 11 rebounds, 5-6 3FG) and Abby Hurlbert (15 points, 5 boards, 3-5 3FG). Leah Dollard (14 points, 6-9 FG) and Ashley Vanderwall (10 points) registered double digits for the Golden Knights, who damaged themselves with 21 turnovers (SCSU had only ten, leading to a 29-10 edge in points-off-TO's for Southern Connecticut). The Owls were on the money from long range (13-22 3FG), part of an effort which ended their own three-game losing skein.
* Chestnut Hill ended the game on a 16-1 bomb to claim an 89-72 CACC win over Concordia and keep a stranglehold on third place in the CACC South. This encounter was close much of the day (seven ties and eleven lead changes) with the Clippers flipping a 43-37 halftime deficit into a 65-61 lead after three periods. The Griffins began the last frame with a 7-0 spurt to go ahead for good (68-65, 8:26) but Concordia stayed in touch, slicing the CHC lead to 73-71 with 3:13 left. That triggered the 16-1 avalanche to end the contest, a pair of 8-0 runs surrounding a single Clipper free throw. Chestnut Hlll received 57 points from the bench, including notable outings from Shannon Glenn (20 points), Jaeda Wildgoose (17 points, 8 rebounds) and Mary Trossi (15 points, 10 rebounds, 7 steals, 6 assists). Add in a 24-point game from Caity Kuhnen (4-6 3FG) and you have a well-rounded Chesnut Hill performance. Julianne Wilkinson (26 points), Hadiyah Black (15 points and a career-high 25 rebounds) and Jessica Rosalbo (15 points) led the Concordia offense. Despite seeing a three-game winning streak end, the Clippers still hold a two-game lead over the pack for the final CACC North playoff slot.
* Dominican emerged from another close clash (thirteen ties and sixteen lead changes) to nab a 79-67 win over Georgian Court and consolidate third place in the CACC North Division. The Chargers parlayed a 12-0 run into a 48-37 third period lead (6:53) but the Lions rallied and eventually went ahead, 55-54, early in the fourth quarter. The last GCU lead was at the 5:31 mark (63-62) but they were then the victim of another 12-0 DC burst, giving the Chargers the lead for good (74-63, 1:37). Lisa Bouffard (personal-best 25 points), Rebecca Rabeiro (14 points, 6 assists, 5 steals) and Jacqueline Rywalt (10 points) topped the Domincan attack as they shot 48% overall and sank 23-26 at the stripe. Jada Atchison (15 points), Alliyah Berger (13 points, 11 boards) and Kaitlyn Lester (11 points) propped up the Lions offense and they also shot the ball well (45% FG, 15-18 FT). GCU had the better of the boards (34-25) but committed nine more turnovers (23-14) and lost their tenth straight game.
* A big third quarter was the ticket for Wilmington to beat Post, 79-63, and keep their spot in fourth place in the CACC South Division. The Wildcats rode a 9-0 run to a 28-20 lead and never relinquished it; they were ahead 34-25 at the break. The game was still in the balance midway through the third period when WU blew it open, an 18-4 romp doing the trick (63-42 after three quarters). The Eagles had no serious response after that and lost their fifth in a row. Macy Robinson (20 points, 8 rebounds), LaShyra Williams and Jasmine Lee (17 points each) topped the stat sheet for the Wildcats while Tyra Jones (18 points, 7 caroms) and Gabriela Middleton (17 points) provided the pop for Post. Wilmington ended up with better shooting numbers (46% FG, 17-23 FT) than Post (35% FG, 11-25 FT), which was a primary factor in the outcome.
* Holy Family continued their dominance against Felician (19-0 all-time) by posting a 76-70 win to stay alive in the CACC South playoff picture. The Tigers put togther a 17-2 run spanning the first two periods and led 36-26 at the interval but the Golden Falcons whittled the margin down to 47-45 after three quarters. It was still a two-point game when HFU went on a 7-2 jag (70-63, 1:12) and they sank 6-8 at the line the rest of the way to ensure the victory. Abigail Iannotti (20 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists) and Casey Thomas (16 points, 9 rebounds) led the Tiger offense with help from Sydney Jackson (11 points, 8 caroms) and Katie O'Hare (11 points, 6 rebounds). Marya Trapp (25 points, 6 boards) and Danelle Gibson (22 points, 5-8 3FG) were productive for Felician, who have lost three in a row and are barely alive in the CACC North playoff picture. HFU proved better from the field (47%-38%) and grabbed nine more rebounds (42-33) to keep their playoff hopes intact.