PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (Nov. 11, 2017) – The Queens College women's basketball team succumbed to a second-half flurry from Jefferson University, losing a 28-21 lead and eventually dropping a 60-54 decision to the Rams on Saturday (Nov. 11) in the opening game of the East Region Conference Challenge at the Gallagher Center in Philadelphia. The game was the opening contest for both teams in the 2017-18 season.
The Knights jumped out to an early 5-0 lead on a three-pointer from Beth Bonin and a lay-up from Emer Moloney in the game's first forty seconds. Jefferson's Rachel Day hit a three-pointer one minute later, but the score would stay 5-3 until the six-and-a-half minute mark. The Knights increased their lead by going on a 6-2 run with free throws from Kaitlyn Mahon, a jumper by Marina Ramon Lopez and another Moloney lay-in but the Rams would not give in. QC took a 17-10 lead into the second quarter, but again the hosts continued to linger. Jefferson got as close as 17-14 in the second before a three-ball by Merrick Rowland put the Knights up by a 20-14 margin with 8:15 left in the first half. The lead ballooned to as much as eleven points thanks to a lay-up by Ramon Lopez with two-and-a-half minutes left in the quarter. Queens ultimately led by seven points at the break, with the Knights ahead 28-21.
The second half, however, belonged to Jefferson University. Moloney broke out of the gate with a lay-up in the first seven seconds to give Queens a 30-21 lead but merely one minute later, the Rams tied the score on a 9-0 run punctuated by consecutive lay-ins from Caitlyn Cunningham. The outburst actually extended to a 13-0 blitz after Ayoola Oguntuase hit two straight buckets to give Jefferson its first lead of the ballgame at 34-30 with 6:24 to play in the frame. A three from Bonin brought QC within one point, but Oguntuase and Cunningham combined for three more points to give the Rams a 37-33 lead. A lay-up from Jessica Kaminski put the hosts ahead by six but Rowland knocked down a long-range jumper to bring the Knights within three points at 39-36 with four minutes to play. Taylor Sparks-Faulkner brought QC within a point at 40-49 late in the third quarter but Cunningham produced a back-breaking three-ball to put Jefferson up 43-39 heading into the last frame.
The fourth quarter opened with Jefferson going on a 7-0 run with Beverly Kum hitting back-to-back shots before an Erin Maher treble gave the Rams a 50-39 lead with just over a minute played. The Knights answered with a 9-0 rally of their own with Rowland, Moloney and Achol Ajang punctuating the run to bring QC within two points at 50-48. As soon as the margin was one possession, however, Maher put home a lay-in to get the Rams back up by four points midway through the fourth. Rowland hit another three pointer to keep the game close but Jefferson ended the game on a 7-4 run to finish out the contest.
Rowland and Moloney led Queens with 12 points while Bonin added 11 points for the Knights; the three players shot 13-for-31 from the field (41.9%) but were limited to a 7-for-23 (30.4%) stretch from beyond the three-point line. Rowland also added a team-high nine rebounds and four steals to go along with two assists. Meanwhile, Mahon contributed eight points to go along with five assists and four rebounds; Lopez had four points and seven boards for QC in the effort. Lucy Tougas played well off the bench with four points and five rebounds in 16 minutes of action but the Knights were undone by 21 turnovers to just 12 committed by Jefferson. Maher and Cunningham each recorded a game-high 13 points for the Rams in the victory.
Queens returns to action tomorrow (Nov. 12) at 12 p.m. when the Knights face Chestnut Hill at the Gallagher Center in the teams' second and final contest in the East Region Conference Challenge.