BROOKLYN, N.Y — In front of an electric crowd for the first home playoff game ever played at The Hill Center, the No. 4-seeded St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) women's basketball team shrank a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to one in the final minute but saw their comeback bid run out of time falling to No. 5 Purchase College, 80-76, on Tuesday evening.
Sophomore Kelly O'Donnell (Brooklyn, N.Y./St. Edmund Prep) led all scorers with a monster 33-point, 19-rebound double-double, while senior Victoria Porcasi (Franklin Square, N.Y./H. Frank Carey) added 18 points and five three-pointers to her record-setting career.
The Panthers (15-11) advance to the semifinals to face No. 1 seed Mount Saint Mary College and the Bears conclude their first winning season since 2014-15 with a 16-10 mark.
How it Happened
The Panthers led for most of the first quarter against a Bears squad that looked to settle in playing their first home playoff game. Purchase built an early 12-4 edge, but SJC came alive at the end of the period to cut the deficit to 18-15 at the first break.
O'Donnell scored 11 points in four minutes over a 14-3 run in the second that gave the Bears their first lead of the game and put them on top by seven, 31-24. O'Donnell nearly turned a double-double in just the second quarter alone (11 pts, 9 reb) and she had 15 points and 11 rebounds as the Bears carried a 33-29 lead into the lockers.
O'Donnell continued to have the hot hand to start the second and knocked down back-to-back trifectas to jump start an 8-0 run to open the second half building the largest separation for either squad in the game, 41-29, which prompted a Panther timeout. Purchase then responded closing out the final eight minutes of the quarter on an 18-2 run to jump back on top, 47-43, headed to the fourth.
St. Joseph's kept the Panthers within reach throughout the first and after pulling within one on a Caitlyn Staab (Lynbrook, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) trifecta, a Purchase 11-2 outburst ballooned their lead to double digits, 67-57, with 2:12 to play.
A Porcasi layup, followed by O'Donnell and Staab triples then powered an 8-1 run over a span of 35 seconds to bring back a one-possession game entering the final minute of regulation.
The Panthers went 3-of-4 at the line in the bonus to build back a six-point edge before Porcasi scored seven points in 30 seconds to cut the deficit to one with 11.2 to play. But with SJC in foul trouble and out of timeouts their rally would fall short and Purchase sank their final four free throw attempts to put away the game.
For the Bears
- Kelly O'Donnell recorded her 14th double-double of the season finishing two shy of matching her career high with a game-high 33 points and 19 rebounds. She'll enter her junior campaign needing just 54 points to reach the coveted 1,000-point scoring mark.
- Victoria Porcasi finished with 18 points—12 coming in the fourth quarter—along with a quintet of three-pointers and assists. She caps her career as the third leading scorer in program history with 1,647 points over 102 games played and the program's three-point queen with 260 made threes at a 35.4 percent connect rate, both Bears records.
- Caitlyn Staab chipped in 13 points in the fourth quarter, also pulling down five boards and swatting away four shots. Her trio of three-pointers all came in the fourth quarter, as she scored 11 in the final frame.
- Lauren Quesada secured 12 caroms, scored six points, dished out four assists and had has many steals.