BROOKLYN, N.Y — After trailing by 15 points early in the second quarter, the St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) women's basketball team fought back to cut the deficit to just one, but couldn't overtake SUNY College at Old Westbury (20-5, 13-5 Skyline) falling 84-75 at home in a battle for third place on Saturday afternoon.
Despite the loss, the Bears (16-9, 12-6 Skyline) complete the regular season with their best Skyline finish by any SJC squad since joining the league. The navy and gray enter their third Skyline Championship in four years as the No. 3 seed and will host No. 5 seed Purchase College on Tuesday evening in the first playoff game at The Hill Center since it opened in 2014.
How it Happened
Old Westbury raced out to an early 9-2 lead and kept that lead for the rest of the game. The No. 1 team in the country in rebounding and rebound margin asserted their dominance in the paint grabbing more offensive rebounds (11) than the Bears had in total in the first period (8) and led 25-14 after 10 minutes.
Five quick points off a Briana Gomez (West Hempstead, N.Y./Kellenberg) layup and a Samantha Wilber (Island Heights, N.J./Central Regional) triple cut the deficit back to single digits but the Bears found themselves down 15 midway through the second, 35-20. Caitlyn Staab (Lynbrook, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) then scored the Bears final eight points of the half—knocking down two treys—to bring the Bears back to their deficit at the end of the first, 39-28.
The Panthers finished the first half outrebounding the Bears 32-18, which included 18 on the offensive glass, and converted into a 16-3 edge in second-chance scoring.
St. Joseph's started out the third quarter on a 13-4 run and Victoria Porcasi (Franklin Square, N.Y./H. Frank Carey) scored five points of the Bears eight unanswered in a minute to pull within one, 43-32, at the 5:10 mark. SJC remained close but could get the go-ahead basket. Another Porcasi trifecta late in the frame, brought a one-point game, before Alexis Lopez responded with a triple in the waning seconds to give Old Westbury a 55-11 lead heading into the final period.
Another Lopez trey to open the scoring in the fourth pushed the lead back up to seven and the Bears couldn't get the game back to one possession, pulling as close as four on several occasions before the Panthers pulled away at the line in the bonus.
The Bears fared better in the second half to minimize the rebounding differential holding the visitors to just a 25-18 edge with only nine offensive boards and four second-chance points.
For the Bears
- Victoria Porcasi led the Bears with 25 points, three assists, and three rebounds.
- Kelly O'Donnell logged all 40 minutes of play to record 21 points, six boards, and four blocks.
- Lauren Quesada put up her 14th double-double of the season, with 10 points and 11 caroms.
- Caitlyn Staab chipped in 10 points and five rebounds to round out four in double figures.
Next Up for the Bears
The Bears will host their first home playoff game ever at The Hill Center on Tuesday evening (Feb. 19) welcoming No. 5 Purchase College in a Skyline Championship First Round matchup. Start time will be announced by the conference shortly. Live stats and video will be available on SJCBears.com.