Release Courtesy of CNR Athletics
NEW ROCHELLE, NY – The College of New Rochelle earned its first Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Championship Sunday, as the third-seeded Blue Angels defeated the fourth-seeded St. Joseph's College-Brooklyn, 62-47, at the Wellness Center on the CNR campus.
After having not defeated the Lady Bears since January of 2000, CNR defeated their conference rival for the second time in four days. In the process of taking home the conference title, the Blue Angels defeated Albany Pharmacy for the first time in program history in the semifinals, and earned the program's first HVIAC title one day later.
Jah-Leah Ellis was named tournament Most Valuable Player, as she averaged 16 points and 17.5 rebounds per game. In the championship game, she tallied her 19thdouble-double of the season, scoring 12 points while pulling down 10 caroms. Jasmine Brandon added a double-double of her own, adding 14 points to her game-high 14 rebounds. Alyssa Pechin, who became just the fifth Blue Angel to reach the 1,000 point plateau in the earlier win over St. Joseph's, poured in a game-high 15. Holly Cammarota, the lone senior in the starting lineup, added 14 points and three assists.
Megan Moran and Taylor Raccuglia each scored 10 points to pace the Lady Bears.
With the win, the Blue Angels run their record to 16-9. The 16 wins is the third highest total for a CNR basketball team since the 1984-85 national runners up, and marked the first time since the 1998-99 season that the team was defeated less than 10 times.
The Lady Bears cracked the scoreboard first, taking a 2-0 lead less than a minute into the game. However, that lead was the only lead for St. Joe's, as the Blue Angels ran off eight straight points to take an 8-2 lead with 15:30 left in the first half. The Lady Bears pulled to within one, 9-8, but CNR responded with an 11-0 run to take its largest lead of the first half, 20-8, 7:01 before the break. A traditional three point play from Pechin allowed the Blue Angels to take a 25-17 lead into the locker room.
In the second 20 minutes, the Lady Bears slowly whittled away at the Blue Angel lead, keeping within striking distance and drawing as close as a single point, 42-41, with 4:49 remaining. Showing championship form and a will that was not to be denied, CNR scored five straight points to push the lead back to six, and closed the game out with a 20-6 run to post the resounding and indisputable victory.
The Blue Angels dominated down low, posting a 36-22 advantage in points in the paint and turned 23 St. Joe's turnovers into 23 points.
Release Courtesy of St. Joseph's Athletics
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – The No. 4 seed St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) women's basketball team was not able to repeat as Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (HVIAC) Tournament champions, suffering a 62-47 loss to the No. 3 seed The College of New Rochelle in the championship game on Sunday afternoon at The CNR Wellness Center.
St. Joseph's (15-11, 4-2 HVIAC) is denied their fourth tournament title in school history and have dropped two of three, while New Rochelle (16-9, 4-2 HVIAC) wins their first title in program history and finishes their season winners of four in a row.
Two Lady Bears scored in double figures with senior Megan Moran (Syosset, N.Y./St. Dominic's) and junior Taylor Raccuglia (Brooklyn, N.Y./Bishop Kearney) each netting a team-high 10 points apiece. Moran also contributed seven rebounds and three assists, while Raccuglia went 5-of-6 from the field and had four blocks.
Junior Samantha Retas (Brooklyn, N.Y./Bishop Kearney) nearly recorded her 10th double-double of the season, finishing with nine points, a team-high 12 boards and a game-high five rejections. Senior Kelly McNamee (Glendale, N.Y./Mary Louis) also chipped in nine points for St. Joseph's.
Pacing New Rochelle was Alyssa Pechin who had a game-high 15 points. The Blue Angels also received a pair of double-doubles from Tournament MVP Jah-Leah Ellis and Jasmine Brandon. Ellis poured in 12 points and brought down 10 caroms, while Brandon contributed 14 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
The Lady Bears came out in the first half and struggled in all facets of the game, finishing the period with 13 turnovers and only shot 20.7 percent (6-of-29) from the floor. St. Joseph's also had foul problems all game with two Lady Bears fouling out in the contest.
New Rochelle would capitalize on the St. Joseph's miscues and used the home court to their advantage, building a 20-8 lead with seven minutes left in the opening half as the Lady Bears went nine minutes without a point.
St. Joseph's hung tough though with their No. 1 ranked field goal percentage defense holding the Blue Angels to 32.4 percent shooting in the opening half. The Lady Bears cut the deficit to five, 22-17, with 1:32 left in the period before Pechin converted a three-point play just before half to give New Rochelle a 25-17 lead heading into the intermission and took away some of the momentum gained by St. Joseph's.
The second stanza saw Ellis make a layup less than ten seconds into the half and later made a free throw to up the Blue Angels lead back to double digits at 28-17 with 18:14 left to play. The Lady Bears made another charge with a 12-3 run to close the gap to 31-29 at the 13:12 mark.
New Rochelle answered by increasing their lead back to 39-31 with 8:58 remaining in the most important game of the season for both teams and it looked like St. Joseph's was running out of chances to make the comeback.
However, realizing their chances at a championship were falling apart, the Lady Bears mustered one last run to get within one, 42-41 with 4:49 left to play on a Retas layup. But the very next possession saw Holly Cammarota nail a jumper while drawing a foul and made the subsequent free throw to put the Blue Angels back up 45-41 and take the wind out of St. Joseph's sails. New Rochelle would lead the rest of the way as they finished the game on a 20-6 run after the Lady Bears got within one.
After the Blue Angels upped their lead back to 39-31 following a St. Joseph's run, the Lady Bears would respond with a 10-3 run to cut the deficit to one, 42-41, with 4:49 left to play. New Rochelle responded on the very next possession with an unconventional three-point play by Cammarota to put them back up 45-41 and also got the crowd back into the game. That would be the closest St. Joseph's got as the Blue Angels finished the game on a 20-6 run to seal the victory.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- Other Contributor: Brittany Cervino (7 pts, 2 reb, 3 ast, 3 stl)
- St. Joseph's was able to mount their second half charge by improving their shooting to 50.0 percent (15-of-30) in the second half to finish the night at 35.6 percent (21-of-59).
- New Rochelle finished just a little better at 35.8 percent (24-of-67) but were helped by the charity stripe as they went 13-of-19 (68.4 percent) from the line compared to just 2-of-6 (33.3 percent) by the Lady Bears.
- The Blue Angels held a 47-38 edge on the glass, but were not able to use a 20-13 margin on the offensive glass to their advantage as the 2nd chance points battle was tied at 12-12.
- New Rochelle used 23 Lady Bear miscues to hold a 23-13 edge in points off turnovers, while also dominating the paint with a 36-22 advantage.
- St. Joseph's once again protected the rim well, swatting away 11 blocks compared to one for the Blue Angels.
THE LADY BEAR FACTS
- The Lady Bears fall to 17-7 all-time against New Rochelle, having now dropped two in a row following a 16-game winning streak.
- St. Joseph's who came in ranked No. 2 nationally in blocked shots now has had five games this season with double-digit blocks.
- Retas has now recorded five or more blocks in five games this season.
NEXT UP FOR THE LADY BEARS
St. Joseph's will now wait to see if they earn a USCAA National Tournament bid as they came in ranked No. 8 in the latest Division I coaches' poll. Bids will be announced on Tuesday, February 25th with the Lady Bears looking for their first appearance since the 2009-10 season.