* The final full regular season Saturday answered some questions around the region while posing other questions. This report begins with the clash which likely decided the CACC North Division crown...
* Caldwell rubbed out Bloomfield to virtaully ensure the CACC North title, 56-42, overcoming a slow start and dominating the thid period. The host Bears scored the first nine points of the game but the Cougars slowly cut the deficit and claimed the lead at the half, 29-26, thanks to back-to-back baskets from Karlie O'Driscoll (14 points, 7 rebounds in 20 bench minutes) to end the frame. Caldwell kept their foot on the pedal and extended their lead to 49-34 by the end of the third period, all but securing the result. Kristen Drogsler (18 points) and Sharell Sanders (10 points, 12 caroms) joined O'Driscoll in Caldwell's attack but it was defense (Bloomfield shot only 29%) and rebounding (46-38) that really did the trick for the Cougars. Bloomfield saw a nine-game win streak end despite a double-double from Zhane Robinson (16 points, 10 rebounds) and they will likely be the #2 seed from the division once post season play begins. Caldwell, meanwhile, has a seven-game winning run at the moment and the inside track to the top seed, all while grabbing their program-record twenty-second victory.
* CACC South Division champion University of the Sciences picked up their sixth straight win, a hard-fought 65-59 decision over local foe Chestnut Hill. A massive 24-2 spree spanning the first two periods gave the Devils the lead for good (37-16) but they never really put CHC away. The Griffins (down 37-20 at the interval) cut the arrears to 56-47 after three periods and came within two points in the fourth quarter a couple of times. The last occasion came with 55 seconds left, 61-59, following a pair of Mary Trossi free throws, but the Devils held on thanks to four foul shots by Sarah Abbonizio (16 points) in the last thirteen seconds. Alex Thomas and Jordan Vitelli (4-9 3FG) added 15 points and Colleen Walsh added 14 points in a balanced Sciences effort as they dropped in 12-35 from long range as a unit. Shannon Glenn (17 points, 4-7 3FG) and Caity Kuhnen (12 points) led the way for Chestnut Hill, who went 7-20 from three-point land. The Griffins sit in third place in the CACC South, a game behind Goldey-Beacom.
* Madison Rowland suprassed the 1,000-rebound plateau for Queens during their 76-56 victory over LIU Post, their fifteenth straight win. The Knights, who have already locked up the ECC top seed, scored the last five points of the first period to take a lead (17-12) they never lost. An 11-0 surge to kick off the third stanza stretched their advantage to 47-24 and the Pioneers had no response. Rowland (21 points, 12 boards) is now part of the 2K-point and 1K-rebound club, a rarity at any level of the game. MacKenzie Rowland (22 points, 10 boards) also double-doubled for the Knights, who shot 47% from the field. Mikaiya Moore (14 points, 8 rebounds) and Sasha Patterson (12 points) spear-headed the Pioneers but they shot only 35% from the floor and fell out of the crowded ECC playoff structure for the time being.
* Northeast-10 Northeast Division winner Bentley shot 52% and dominated the glass (52-26) in their 92-66 victory over visiting St. Anselm. The Falcons fell into an early hole but a 15-0 burst gave them a 19-9 lead late in the first quarter and they rolled from there. Bentley won all four quarters and led 39-23 at the half. They put the game away by scoring the first eleven points of the third stanza (50-25), extending their winning streak to eleven games. Jen Gemma (20 points, 17 boards) and Victoria Lux (19 points, 12 caroms) led the way for Bentley with depth provided by Lauren Green (14 points), Macchi Smith (11 points, 8 boards, 5 assists) and Trevena Bennett (11 points). The Hawks fell short in a number of areas (including shooting just 39%) but got solid work from Candace Andrews (21 points, 7 assists) and Kaila Duarte (13 points, 9 rebounds) nonetheless. St. A's, by virtue of the the loss and Assumption's win, will be the #3 seed in the NE-10 Northeast Division once the playoffs commence.
* Bridgeport's Camera Miley (14 points) hit the game-winning shot with fifteen seconds left at Hubbell Gym for the Purple Knights as they beat St. Thomas Aquinas, 62-61. The Purple Knights squandered a twenty-one point lead (31-10, 4:48 of the second quarter) and had to come from behind to beat the Spartans in one of a number of key games in the muddled ECC. UB led 58-48 midway through the final frame but a 12-0 STAC binge put them on top, 60-58, less than four minutes later. Samnell Vonleh (16 points, 9 caroms) tied it at 60 with 1:05 left but a single Alex Bertolno (15 points) foul shot gave the guests a 61-60 edge. Miley then decided the outcome, although Bertolino's miss at the horn was the final act. Bridgeport, still in the mix for a playoff spot with three games left, shot 45% to help their cause, while STAC shot just 36%. Jenna Erickson (15 points, 4-8 3FG) and Adiya Henderon (10 points) added quality for STAC, who are in a battle for the #2 ECC seed. They have a half-game lead for that place at the moment but are even in the loss column with chasers Molloy and Roberts Wesleyan.
* Daemen stayed right in the scrap for one of the last two ECC playoff places with a convicing 70-50 win over sliding Molloy. The Wildcats assumed the lead for good with a 19-4 surge to the end first half (34-24) and laid the hammer down thanks to a 10-1 close to the third quarter (60-34). Leah McDonell (17 points, 5 steals), Jordan Heinold (12 points,7 caroms), Jesse DeWaters and Natalie Galus (10 points each) all lent a hand for the winners, while Sarah Saba (9 points, 10 boards) was also solid. The Lions, who have dropped four of their last five games, were topped by Kamala Thompson (17 points, 12 rebounds) and Ihnacinse Grady (10 points) but were handily out-shot (45%-29%), negating a fine game on the offenisve glass (twenty of them). Molloy is tied for third place in the loop with Roberts Wesleyan, a half-game behind St. Thomas Aquinas.
* Roberts Wesleyan prevailed in a rousing, high-octane affair over NYIT, 88-85, to keep their hopes of a second place ECC finish alive. Taya Andrews (27 points, 10 boards) led the Redhawk effort and converted a pair of free throws with ten seconds left to push their lead to 88-85; NYIT's last chance, a Julie Williams (14 points) trey at the horn, missed. Lucy Covely (19 points, 5-8 3FG), Brooke Fields (15 points) and Necedah James (11 points) contributed well for RWC, who shot well (47% FG, 10-21 3FG, 18-19 FT) across the board. The Bears led 43-40 at the half but lost ground in the third period (RWC opened on an 18-4 sortie) and faced a 69-64 deficit once it was over. The fourth period was back-and-forth, although NYIT's last lead came early in the frame (70-69) after a 6-0 start to it. Margaret Knollmeyer (23 points, 10 rebounds) capped another 6-0 Bear run to get them within 86-85 in the last minute but NYIT was unable to get over the hump. Nina Vukosavljevic (19 points) and Shanice Allen (13 points) were also productive for NYIT, which shot well from the field (46%) and the line (19-23 FT) but not from long range (4-16 3FG). The Bears hold fifth place at the moment in the ECC but teams with games in hand can catch them.
* Assumption rode a 17-0 expolsion in the fourth quarter to nail down a 64-50 win at St. Michael's and in the process clinched the #2 seed in the NE-10 Northeast Division. A close game until the last frame (AC led 26-24 at the half but trailed 40-37 after three periods) was in SMC's hands at 44-37 with 6:30 left when the Greyhounds went off. They scored 24 of the last 28 points, including the 17-0 bomb that gave them a 57-46 lead and all the momentum. The Hounds were excellent at the line in the last quarter, canning 17-19 (27-31 FT overall) to help secure the spoils. Morgan O'Brien (19 points, 4-7 3FG), Allison Stoddard (18 points, 9-10 FT) and Jo Impellizeri (11 points, 6 boards) sparked the Hounds while Samantha Delaney (16 points) and Emily Ferreri (14 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists) were the pick of the lot for the Purple Knights. Neither team shot well (about 29% each) but Assumption did hit 7-20 from three-point land while St. Mike's missed all fourteen of their attempts. SMC has a do-or-die game at Stonehill on Tuesday; the winner advances to the playoffs (as either #4 or #5 seed) while the losers' season ends.
* Samantha Hyslip (22 points) and Maty Diabate (11 points, 8 boards) led Stonehill to a 61-50 victory at Southern New Hamlpshire to snap a three-game slide and put themselves in a spot where they control their own NE-10 playoff destiny. The Penmen, already eliminated, led 38-29 midway through the third quarter but the Skyhawks embarked on a 14-2 run to end the frame and snag the lead for good (43-40). SNHU was still in range with 2:00 left after a Victoria Dean three-pointer (54-50) but Stonehill got a Hyslip basket to end the threat and then hit 5-6 at the line to make sure of the victory. Stonehill was much better on the glass (35-18) and at the line (15-18 FT; SNHU 6-11 FT) to aid their cause and set up in essence a playoff game on Tuesday against St. Michael's. Sara Ryan's 20 points led the Penmen but she had no help, as no other player had more than six points for the home team.
* Merrimack ensured an NE-10 Northeast playoff spot thanks to a 56-39 vicotry at Franklin Pierce. The Warriors broke away after a tight first half (MC led 25-23 at the half), widening their lead to 36-31 after three quarters. A 15-2 jaunt to start the last stanza (51-33, 4:06) doomed the Ravens to defeat and meant MC will extend their season. Lexi Martin (16 points) and My'Asia Alston (15 points) supplied the bulk of the Warrior production and they defended well (FPU shot 28% and 3-13 from behind the arc) all day. Sarah Middelton's eight points led the Raven scoring, although Mikayla Deguire and Kelsey Mayo hauled in ten boards each. Merrimack will be the #4 seed and host a first round playoff game if they beat Bentley on Tuesday; a loss means they will be the #5 seed and will travel for the playoffs.
* Dana Watts (27 points, 9 boards, 9-11 FG, 9-10 FT) had a big game as AIC beat the College of Saint Rose in Albany, 82-73, eliminating the Golden Knights from NE-10 Southwest Division playoff consideration. Saint Rose gave the Yellow Jackets a good battle but faced a 54-42 deficit with 1:36 left in the third period. They countered with a 7-0 run to close the period and another 7-0 burst gave them a 62-61 lead with 4:35 left, the latter flurry led by Ashley Vanderwall (six points of her career-high 29 points in the run). AIC bounced back with a 12-4 spell (Watts had the first eight points) to put the visitors on top, 73-66, with 1:19 left. Imani Stepney (19 points, 9-10 FT) ended the run with a pair of free throws, starting a stretch where AIC hit 11-12 at the line to close it out. Jayda Gilmore (14 points, 7 assists) was also sound for AIC, who have won three in a row and are set as the #2 seed in the division. Vanderwall (6-10 3FG) was supported by Staci Barrett and Taylor Nazon (14 points each) for Saint Rose but they end the season on a four-game slide despite shooting 50% from the field. AIC did the job on the glass (41-29) and at the stripe (29-34 FT), too much for Saint Rose to overcome.
* Southern Connecticut ensured an NE-10 Southwest Division playoff slot with a 55-46 win at LeMoyne, meaning the Owls game against Pace on Tuesday will decide who takes the #4 seed (and hosts a game) and who hit the road as the #5 seed. This one was tight all day (seven ties, nine lead changes) with the Owls ahead after three periods, 35-33. The Dolphins started the last frame on a 7-2 surge (LC, 40-37) but SCSU was equal to it, drilling a trio of three-pointers in an 11-1 response, giving them the lead for keeps (48-41, 4;08). SCSU made 4-5 at the line in the final 38 seconds to salt the game away. Murphy Murad (13 points), Taylor McLaughlin (12 points, 12 boards) and Maria Wesleyj (12 points shared the load for SCU along with Paige Decker (9 points, 8 rebounds) as they beat LC from three-point land (8-3) and forced six more turnovers (18-12). LeMoyne, already set as he #3 divisional seed, was led by Nicole Riddick (9 points, 10 boards), Colleen Corcoran (9 points) and Ellie Leszyk (10 rebounds) but fell to defeat for the third straight time.
* Pace emulated Southern Connecticut, as their 79-52 wipeout of New Haven guarenteed a playoff spot while also eliminating UNH from NE-10 Southwest Division playoff contension. A 9-0 first period burst put the Setters ahead to stay (18-10) and they led by a comfy 40-22 halftime tally. The Chargers were unable to muster a rally in the second half and trailed by double digits the the rest of the game. Alexandra Monteleone (career-high equalling 23 points), Kirsten Dodge (15 points, 9 rebounds) and Christina Rubin (12 points) marshalled the troops for Pace, which out-shot (43%-27%) the Chargers. Pace also made 10-20 from three-point land (UNH was 2-16 3FG) and racked up a neat 17/7 assist/turnover ratio. Allieyah Cubbage (14 points, 9 caroms) and Khayla Trowell (10 points, 7 boards) led New Haven's attack in vain.
* Lexi Bruno (24 points, 11 assists) led the way for Goldey-Beacom in their 81-65 win over local foe Wilmington, putting the Lightning into second place in the CACC South Division all alone. On the flip side, Wilmington's loss means they face an elimnation game at Philadelphia on Tuesday, where the survivor will earn the final divisional playoff spot. GBC scored the final ten points of the first quarter (25-15) to take the advanatge for good and they extended it to 40-23 late in the half before the Wildcats notched a 7-2 closing spurt to make it a 42-30 game. Still, the Lightning didn't waver, keeping their lead in double digits for the entire second half. Britani Bryson (18 points, 7 caroms) and Destiny Harper (11 points) lent depth for GBC, who sank 13-30 from three-point land and ruled the window (46-33), helping them take a one-game lead over Chestnut Hill for second place in the division. LaShyra Williams (16 points), Macy Robinson (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Jasmine Lee (14 points) led the way for the Wildcats, who were off the mark from deep (1-12 3FG) and had a dreary assist/turnover ratio of 3/11.
* Philadephia did what they had to do to keep their CACC South Division playoff hopes ticking, beating local rival Holy Family, 68-52. The game was up in the air until the latter stages of the third quarter, when an 11-0 surge to end the frame gave them a 50-40 lead. Philadelphia kept the flow going into the fourth quarter, when an 11-4 start (22-4 overall) made it a 61-44 game and killed off the Tigers. There was one bright spot for HFU, as Abigail Iannotti (12 points, 15 rebounds) joined the 1,000-point club during the contest. Jill Conroy (14 points) topped the Tigher effort along with Iannotti. Jessica Kaminski (17 points), Alynna Williams (15 points), Rachel Day (13 points), Erin Maher (12 points, 12 boards, 5 assists) and Erin Rafter (15 rebounds) all played well for the Rams, who grabbed eleven more rebounds (46-35) and made 11-26 from three-point land, easily eclipsing Holy Family (3-15 3FG). Philadelphia hosts Wilmington on Tuesday with the winner moving on to the playoffs and the loser heading into the off-season.
* Domincan nearly blew an eighteen-point lead but held on to shade Nyack, 64-61, in Orangeburg. The Chargers led 58-40 with 6:50 to go in the game but the Warriors, already out of CACC North playoff contention, ran off a 19-2 blitz to get within a point, 60-59, with 29 seconds left. Jacqueline Rywalt (11 points, 7 assists) made a pair of free throws for the Chargers (:14) and after a Nyack bucket, she sank two more with four ticks left. Nyack's last chance, a Tayelor McCalister trey, missed at the buzzer and DC had survived. Lisa Bouffard (18 points), Rebecca Rabeiro (12 points) and Sara Ismail (personal-high of 10 points) shared the scoring for the Chargers, already set as the #3 seed in the CACC North Division. Kelli Smoot (15 points, 8 boards) and Bryanna Brown (11 points) spurred a good comeback effort from Nyack, who did own a +14 on the glass (53-39) but left points of the table at the line (16-32 FT).
* Concordia held on to repel Post, 70-69, and end the Eagles seaon on a heart-breaking note. The Clippers, locked into the #4 spot in the CACC North Division, led 37-23 at the break (thanks to a 10-0 second period run) and, after the Eagles closed the gap to a point (43-42), put up a 12-1 spree to claim a 55-43 lead (2:04 of the third period). The Eagles stayed the course and chipped away, finally getting the lead down to one point again with 32 seconds left, 70-69. A steal gave the Eagles a chance to win but they missed twice in the dying seconds and Concordia held on to prevail. Jessica Roslabo (career-high 33 points; 11-19 FG, 4-10 3FG, 7-8 FT in all 40 minutes) was superb for the Clippers while Julianne Wilkinson (11 points) and Hadiyah Black (9 points, 12 boards) added support. Tyra Jones (20 points, 10 boards, 6 assists) was sharp for Post along with Deasia Acklin (19 points, 6 rebounds) and Taylor Ceballos (12 points, 10 caroms) but the imperssive comeback fell just short.