By Adam Zaki
Published: March 1st, 2017
The women’s basketball team ended its championship hopes with a thud, as the top-seeded Brooklyn College Bulldogs fell to the third-seeded College of Staten Island (CSI) Dolphins 53-42 in the City University of New York Athletic Conference (CUNYAC) championship at City College’s Nat Holman Gymnasium on Friday.
The Bulldogs finish their season with a record of 21-6 (14-2 in conference), as CSI will move on to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III tournament with the conference championship victory.
The Bulldogs’ backcourt failed to find any offensive comradery throughout the night. Junior guard Karen Mak and senior guards Taylor Gallagher and Twanda Holder shot a collective 11 percent from the field, as Gallagher and Holder went 0-8 from long distance as a pair. A combination of stout CSI defense and lack of offensive communication from the Bulldogs allowed the Dolphins to halt any opportunities the Bulldogs were able to obtain.
Sophomore swingman Alexandra Moogan failed to fulfill her season role as the team’s catalyst, as her 2-7 performance from field and 1-5 performance from long range contributed to the Bulldogs’ woes throughout the night. Senior guard Justine Vento and sophomore guard Lauren D’Agostino combined for a forgetful 2-6 from the field and 1-5 from distance, as the Bulldogs’ bench—something that has proven to be extremely valuable in close games this season—was unable to pick up the starters’ untimely slack.
Solid performances from the Bulldogs’ frontcourt allowed them to not only defend CSI’s offensive effort down low, but allowed for multiple Bulldog runs in the third and fourth quarters to cut the CSI lead to as little as four points with just over six minutes remaining in the game.
Senior forward Olivia Colbert made her presence known down low throughout the contest, as she finished with a double-double of 15 points and 14 rebounds. Despite multiple opportunities from the free-throw line, Colbert’s 7-17 performance from the stripe impeded easy points that may have changed the outcome of the contest for the Bulldogs.
Senior center Maya Ajee-Thomas contributed eight points and seven rebounds in just 18 minutes, as CSI’s dictation of tone forced the Bulldogs to play small ball. At 6 feet 4 inches, Thomas was forced to watch a majority of the game from the bench. It was evident that the Dolphins looked to run the Bulldogs off the floor both offensively and defensively in their game plan.
The Dolphins’ defense forced the Bulldogs into multiple offensive season-lows, including points (42), field goals attempted (15), and three-point field goals made (2). CSI’s junior guard Angelique Price matched the entire Bulldogs team with seven steals on the night, as junior guard Victora Crea also swiped four steals for the Dolphins in the matchup.
CSI had offensive struggles as well, shooting 28 percent from the field as a team on the night. They capitalized from distance however, as their 36 percent performance from three-point range was able to counteract their struggles from the field. With Price and Crea shooting 40 percent from distance as a duo, CSI’s offense was able to do just enough as the Dolphins also set their season low in total points in the victory.
CSI’s communication was led by junior guard Christina Pasaturo, as the CUNYAC Player of the Year was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the CUNYAC playoffs at the conclusion of the contest. Her 16 points and five rebounds were extremely vital to her team’s victory, as her dictation of the offense combined with her timely baskets seemed to always keep momentum in her team’s favor.
The Bulldogs will go on to participate in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) tournament, earning the second seed. The Bulldogs defeated CSI last year in the ECAC tournament championship after suffering a similar fate: a CUNYAC championship loss to Lehman College.
Brooklyn will host third-seeded Neumann University (18-8) at the West Quad Gymnasium in the regional round of the tournament on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. The winner will go on to the quarterfinal round on Friday at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.