* Saturday provided the final pieces to the ECC playoff jigsaw puzzle and also saw the CACC quarterfinals take place. The recap starts with the direction of the remaining ECC first round bye...
* Molloy need to win to assure themselves of second place in the ECC and a playoff bye and the Lions took care of business with a 58-49 victory over LIU Post at Quealy Gym. A 10-0 Lions burst gave them the lead for good in the first quarter (15-6) and they built a 31-21 lead by the half. The Pioneers (already eliminated from post season contention) hung around and came within five points in the fourth period but Molloy kept them ay bay and drilled 6-6 at the line in the final 37 seconds to ice the win, its twentieth of the campaign. Aliyah McDonald (15 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists), Kamala Thompson (13 points, 11 caroms) and Ihnacinse Grady (10 points) led the path for the Lions, who forced eleven more turnovers (24-13) and scored more points from those mistakes than LIU Post (21-10). Sasha Patterson (14 points, 16 rebounds) double-doubled for the Pioneers while Kylie Garrett added 11 points in support. Molloy is next in action a week from today, when they face the St. Thomas Aquinas-Bridgeport winner in the ECC semifinals.
* The closest game of the day in the ECC was Roberts Wesleyan's white-knuckle win over Daemen in Rochester, 69-68, denying the Wildcats a shot at a playoff spot. RWC scored the final six points of the game to prevail, a Lucy Covley (14 points, 3-8 3FG) trey tying the game at 68 (:12) and a Brooke Fields (17 points) free throw with two seconds left to win it. The clash was ultra-tight (six ties, ten lead changes and a separation of no more than seven points) and deadlocked at 32 at halftime. Daemen rode a 14-3 surge to a 48-42 lead with 4:13 left in the third period and held the edge to the end of the frame. Sydney Jones' three-pointer with 5:38 to go put Daemen ahead, 61-54, and they still held a 68-63 lead at the 2:25 mark after a Jordan Heinold (12 points) triple. That proved to be their last score with a Taya Andrews (11 points) igniting the game-winning Redhawks sequence. RWC made 11-31 from three-point land and held Daemen to just 4-20 from deep to lock up fourth place in the league and the right to host NYIT in a first round game on Wednesday. Leah McDonell (18 points, including her 1,000th career point; 15 points, 5 assists) was excellent for the Wildcats, as was Sarah Saba (17 points, 14 caroms), but it wasn't enough and Daemen fell agonizingly short of the playoff berth,
* Bridgeport ended up with the final ECC playoff spot thanks to Daemen's loss but the Purple Knights closed the regular season on a downer, beaten by the University of the District of Columbia, 66-54. For the Firebirds the win represents a bright end to a harsh campaign as they go into the off-season with their first win since December 3. UDC led by as many as nine points in the first half (which ended 32-25) and the widened it to 41-30 thanks to a 9-0 third period jaunt. UB whittled the lead down to three points a few times, the last being 55-52 with 4:38 left in the contest. UDC wiped out any comeback hopes for UB with a killer 11-0 flurry (66-52, :38) and that was that. Shantrel Oliver (19 points, 7 assists, 6 steals) was active for UDC and had good support from Kaiya Coleman (14 points), Bianca White (11 points), Bailee White (10 points) and Jaslynn Rollins (11 rebounds). Anastasia Williams (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Evelyn Ovner (14 points, 7 boards) keyed a Bridgeport attack that shot 33% overall and made only 1-16 from three-point land. UDC was better from deep (7-27 3FG) and shot 38% overall. UB's playoff assignment as the #6 seed is a visit to St. Thomas Aquinas on Wednesday.
* NYIT has no trouble brushing off Mercy to snare the #5 ECC playoff seed, 62-35. The Bears led all the way, bolting to a 33-10 halftime lead and coasting in the rest of the way. Offense was an issue for the Mavericks (23% FG, 3-27 3FG) and they scored more points in the fourth quarter (18) than in the previous three periods combined (17) but the result was long decided by then. Margaret Knollmeyer (14 points, 10 boards) and Sofia Georgiadi (11 points, 11 caroms) led the NYIT effort with Madison Stripoli adding 10 points. The Bears shot 39% and dominated the glass, 54-33, to go into the playoffs (at Roberts Wesleyan) on a high note on Wednesday. Latisha Clark topped the Mavericks with 14 points and 9 rebounds as they completed their season.
* Three of the four higher seeds/home teams won their CACC quarterfinal games, the one exception being Dominican's 63-59 victory at Goldey-Beacom. Lisa Bouffard's career-high 29 points (12-19 FG, 5-6 FT) and 11 rebounds spearheaded the Charger success as they broke away in the fourth quarter of a closely-fought scrap. The Lightning led at the break, 24-23, and after three periods, 39-35, the latter capped by the three-pointer from Lexi Bruno (20 points). Tanner Turner-Rush's (10 points, 9 rebounds) trey gave GBC their last lead, 45-43, with 6:26 to go but a 6-0 DC burst gave them the lead for good, 49-45 (4:44). Britani Bryson (13 points, 14 rebounds) brought the Lightning within 51-49 at the 2:18 mark but Dominican put the result beyond doubt with an 8-1 response (59-50, :41) led by Bouffard (five of the points). Bruno's trey cut the gap to 62-59 with 17 seconds to play, only to see a Stefani Alston free throw nail it down for DC. Rebecca Rabeiro (11 points, 6 assists) had a solid game for the Chargers, who out-shot GBC (42%-31%) and will face Caldwell in the CACC semifinals a week from today.
* CACC North champion Caldwell pulled out a 62-49 win over defending playoff kingpin Philadelphia in a game of two distinct halves. The Rams assumed control of the first half thanks to a 15-2 jag (31-16, 2:19 of the second stanza) and held a 33-21 edge at the interval. It was a different Cougar team that emerged from the locker room, putting up a 17-2 start to the third period (38-35, 3:15) to take the lead for keeps. Caldwell crafted another big run to kick off the fourth quarter, 11-1, and it was a 53-42 game with 6:39 to go. The Rams had no answer and saw their upset bid denied. Maura Kelty netted a career-best 26 points (10-14 FG, 3-5 3FG) and grabbed 10 rebounds to spark the Cougars, while Sharell Sanders added 10 points and 8 assists. Erin Rafter (14 points, 16 rebounds) and Erin Maher (14 points) played well for Philadelphia, as did Jessica Kaminski (10 points, 6 rebounds). Caldwell (now on a nine-game win streak) will host the CACC semifinals and title game next weekend; they confront Dominican in one semfinal game a week from today.
* CACC South winner the University of the Sciences picked up a 64-42 win over Concordia to advance, largely thanks to a 19-0 spell spanning the first two frames. The sortie began with 2:48 left in the first quarter and by the time the Clippers scored again (a more than ten-minute stretch), it was a 32-11 game. The Devils led 39-14 at the break and cruised in from there to notch their seventh straight victory. Alex Thomas (25 points, 4-10 3FG) and Sarah Abbonizio (10 points) led the Sciences attack as they sank 10-30 from three-point land and pulled down thirteen more rebounds than the Clippers (40-27). Jessica Rosalbo (15 points) and Lyrich Blanch (10 points) were Concordia's best options but once they fell into the first half chasm, there was no recovery. The Devils will tackle Bloomfield in the CACC semifinals next weekend.
* Bloomfield secured their place in the CACC semifinals with a 70-53 decision over Chestnut Hill, led by Zhane Robinson (27 points, 8 boards), Tianna Smith (16 points) and Bobbi Floyd (9 points, 13 rebounds). The Bears used a 14-3 binge to kick off the second quarter and take a 26-14 lead en route to a 35-21 halftime bulge. The Griffins tried to mount a rally but they never put together a strong enough spell to seriously trouble BC. Vicky Tumasz (10 points), Cailey Gibson (10 points) and Jaeda Wildgoose (8 points, 10 caroms) topped the CHC attack which out-shot the Bears (40%-35%) but lost the boards (47-35). Bloomfield meets the Univeristy of the Sciences in the CACC semifinals next weekend at Caldwell.