CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. – The Queens College men's and women's basketball teams will both be playing in the postseason, as the East Coast Conference (ECC) announced its basketball championship fields over the weekend. Queens will be the top seed in the women's tournament, while the Knights garnered the No. 6 seed in the men's bracket.
The men's team will travel to the University of Bridgeport on Wednesday, March 1, for a first-round matchup with the third-seeded Purple Knights at 7 p.m. Meanwhile, the ECC Regular Season Champion Queens women's basketball team earned a first-round bye and will play the winner of No. 4 Roberts Wesleyan College /No. 5 NYIT in the semifinals at noon on Saturday, March 4.
The semifinals and finals of both tournaments will be hosted by the University of Bridgeport. If the men's team advances, they would play Molloy College at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday in the semifinals. The women's title game is scheduled for noon on Sunday, March 5, while the men's final will follow at 2:30 p.m.
Come out and support your QC men's basketball team! A fan bus will depart from Fitzgerald Gym at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1. Reserve your spot (www.queensknights.com/busrsvp) by 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28. More information to follow on our top-seeded and 14th-ranked women's basketball team, which begins postseason play on Saturday, March 4.
ECC First Round – Wednesday, March 1 – 7 p.m.
No. 6 Queens (13-12, 10-8 ECC) at No. 3 Bridgeport (17-11, 12-6 ECC)
The Knights and Purple Knights will square off for the second time in two weeks, this time with a spot in the semifinals of the ECC Championship on the line. Queens and Bridgeport split the season series, as the road team came away victorious both times. The two teams most recently battled on Feb. 15, a 75-73 Bridgeport win, in Queens' final home game of the season. Prior to that, Queens picked up an 84-75 win at Bridgeport on Jan. 4.
It will be the first appearance in the ECC Tournament for Queens since the 2013-14 season. After ending the month of January on a four-game winning streak, the Knights went 2-4 in February. Even still, Queens got the job done after earning an 84-72 road win at LIU Post on Feb. 18 to clinch a spot in the tournament. The last time out, the Knights fell at Daemen College, 71-59, in the regular season finale. Senior guard Tyree White tallied 19 points and 10 rebounds in the setback. White leads Queens with 16.6 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game, while fellow senior Diego Maldonado posts 13.3 points per game and shoots 44.0 percent from downtown.
Bridgeport ended the regular season with back-to-back losses after previously winning six straight games and 10 of its last 11. The Purple Knights were blindsided by LIU Post, 90-69, before falling at District of Columbia, 70-67, to cap the regular season. It's been a balanced effort for Bridgeport offensively this season with four players scoring in double figures on average. Kyle Benjamin leads the team with 14.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game, while Sam Joseph averaged 14.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game.
ECC Semifinals – Saturday, March 4 – 12:00 p.m. (At Bridgeport)
No. 1 Queens (24-3, 17-1 ECC) vs. No. 4 Roberts Wesleyan/No. 5 NYIT
Queens will look to make it a three-peat in 2017, as the two-time defending ECC Champion Knights enter the ECC Tournament as the top seed. The Knights will face the winner of the 4/5 game, which features fourth-seeded Roberts Wesleyan and fifth-seeded NYIT, in Saturday's semifinal at Bridgeport. Queens swept both teams during the regular season. The Knights won at NYIT, 72-61, on Dec. 3 and again on Jan. 21 at home, 62-54. Queens defeated Roberts Wesleyan at home, 77-65, back on Nov. 16 and topped the Redhawks, 72-63, on the road on Feb. 8.
It's been a historic season for the Knights thus far, matching the program record with 24 wins and ending the regular season on a 16-game winning streak. Queens cruised to the ECC regular season crown after finishing 17-1 in conference play this season. The Knights dominated Daemen College on the road in their regular season finale, 84-66.
Senior Madison Rowland set school and conference records in points and steals this season, while she also became the first player in program history with 2,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds. Rowland, who leads the ECC in scoring at 21.3 points per game, also currently leads NCAA Division II with 4.6 steals per game. Redshirt senior MacKenzie Rowland leads the ECC in rebounding with 10.8 per game and is second in scoring at 17.7 points per game, while her sister, Madison, is second in rebounding with 10.3 per contest. Additionally, head coach Elizabeth Naumovski is just one win away from her 100th at Queens.
Roberts Wesleyan finished the regular season 17-11 overall and 11-7 in the ECC. The Redhawks have won four of their last five games and six of their last eight, including a 69-68 win over Daemen the last time out. Brooke Fields leads the Redhawks with 15.3 points per game, followed by Taya Andrews with 15.0 per game. NYIT stands at 16-10 overall and finished fifth in the ECC standings with a 10-8 conference mark. NYIT has won five of its last six games, with the lone loss coming to Roberts Wesleyan. Margaret Knollmeyer leads the Bears with 14.7 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, while Shannon Duer is next with 14.3 points and 9.7 rebounds a game.