OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. — St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) women's basketball (11-4, 8-2) made a strong third-quarter run to take control of their visit to SUNY College at Old Westbury (11-4, 5-4 Skyline), but the Bears needed the heroics of senior captain Victoria Porcasi (Franklin Square, N.Y./H. Frank Carey) who drained a three-pointer with 10.2 seconds left to regain the lead and stole the ensuing inbounds pass to seal a 77-75 Skyline Conference road win on Saturday afternoon.
Porcasi led all scorers with 20 points as the Bears picked up their first win over the Panthers since joining the Skyline, snapping an eight-game skid dating back to December 2013. The victory also lifts the Bears into a tie for second place with United States Merchant Marine Academy (11-1, 7-1) with both squads scheduled to meet next weekend.
How it Happened
With each team vying for a lead early on, the Panthers found an advantage following a Monique Joseph steal and a layup to break a 9-9 tie four minutes in and sparked an 11-0 run, racing out to a 20-9 lead, their largest lead of the game. The navy and white ending the quarter on a 9-2 run, however, cutting the deficit to just four points, 22-18.
The Bears held the Panthers down for most of the second quarter, with Old Westbury shooting just 4-for-20 in the second. SJC took advantage, taking their first lead of the game with a pair of Caitlyn Staab (Lynbrook, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) free throws, to make it 30-29 with 2:35 left in the quarter, but the Bears still found themselves down 34-32 headed into halftime.
Old Westbury couldn't stop the Bears in the third quarter that saw SJC double up the hosts in a 28-13 frame behind eight points apiece from the Kelly O'Donnell (Brooklyn, N.Y./St. Edmund Prep) and Porcasi. Holding the Panthers scoreless over the final 3:46, the Bears ended the period on a 9-0 run to build their largest lead of the game (13), headed into the fourth up 60-47.
Despite the double-digit cushion, the Panthers chipped away at the Bears lead and used a 9-2 run in the last three minutes of regulation capped by a Charlotte Renker three-point play that put the Panthers back on top 75-73 with 18.9 seconds left—their first lead since early in the third.
With the shot clock turned off and the Bears able to hold on for the final possession, Porcasi dribbled near the top of the arc and pulled up for a step back 25-footer that hit nothing but the bottom of the net for the dagger three to put the Bears up 76-75 with 10.2 seconds to go. In the ensuing Panther possession, the captain came up clutch again, stealing the inbounds pass and O'Donnell later split a pair in the bonus to put the Bears up two. The hosts still had a chance to tie or steal the win with a second remaining, but a game-winning three-point attempt at the buzzer was blocked by Jamie Provino (Harrison, N.Y./Harrison) to cement the win.
For the Bears
- Victoria Porcasi dropped 20 points, six assists, and two steals. The senior is now five points shy of being the fourth Bear in team history to reach the 1,500-point scoring plateau.
- Kelly O'Donnell stuffed the stat sheet with her eighth double-double of the season accumulating 18 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, and three steals.
- Caitlyn Staab put up 17 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks.
- Jamie Provino added 12 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and a block to round out four in double-figure scoring.
Next up for the Bears
The Bears have a week off before welcoming United States Merchant Marine Academy to The Hill Center on Saturday (Jan. 19). Currently tied for second in the standings, when both teams will meet next weekend, they'll be separated by a half game. The women will tip off at 1 p.m., opening a doubleheader with the men. Live stats and video will be available at SJCBears.com.