WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 27, 2018) – Merrick Rowland knocked down a game-breaking three-pointer with just over a minute to play in regulation while Taliyah Hopkins and Emer Moloney crafted masterful performances to help the Queens College women's basketball team overcome a stringent test from the University of the District of Columbia on Saturday (Jan. 27). The 61-60 win pushes the Knights' record to 9-9 overall and 5-5 in East Coast Conference play as the second half of league competition gets underway.
UDC (3-18, 1-10 ECC) went true to their namesake within the first four minutes of play as the Firebirds jumped out to an early 9-2 lead on Queens. Danielle Harrington and Tyra Coombs did much of the damage with the Knights playing catch-up in the opening frame. Lucy Tougas scored the Knights' first four points but UDC ended the first quarter on a four-point play by Daeja Quick to take an 18-10 advantage into the next period. The Firebirds went 58% (7-12) from the field in the first quarter and capitalized on six QC turnovers to collect twelve points; Harrington hit two free throws to start the second quarter and give UDC a ten-point lead at 20-10. From there, however, the Knights outscored their opposition 20-5. Marina Ramon Lopez scored six points in the frame, getting Queens within a point at 22-21 under four minutes to play in the first half.
A Mia-Alexis Lloyd three-ball put the Firebirds up 25-21 with two-and-a-half minutes to go before Hopkins crafted another "Taliyah Takeover" to give the Knights their first lead of the game. The junior guard needed just 57 seconds to change the complexion of the contest, hitting five free throws and a lay-up while also corralling a defensive rebound for QC in giving her side a three-point lead with just over a minute to go in the half. Beth Bonin converted on a bucket with 42 seconds to play for the last points of the first half as Queens led 30-25 at the halftime break; the Knights went on a 9-0 run in the final 2:13 of play to punctuate the first-half comeback.
The Firebirds opened the third quarter on a 10-2 run to open the third quarter---similar to how the hosts opened the first quarter---with Quick scoring five of UDC's ten points in that span. After Harrington hit a lay-up to put UDC up by a 35-32 margin with 6:40 to play in the third, Moloney and Hopkins knocked down back-to-back jumpers to give the lead right back to Queens. The Firebirds re-took the lead and ended the frame on an 11-4 rally to keep a 46-41 edge going into the final frame. Sarah Hare scored a two-pointer to push UDC's lead out to seven points to start the fourth quarter but Moloney and Rowland combined for eight straight points in three minutes as Queens surged back in front, 49-48, with six-and-a-half minutes left in regulation.
The final five minutes proved to be a back-and-forth affair with Rowland keeping Queens in front on a three-pointer with five minutes to play; the Knights' 52-51 lead did not last as both sides continued to first off shots with Lloyd hitting a jumper to tie the game at 56 with under ninety seconds remaining. On the Knight's next possession, Rowland knocked down a huge three-pointer following a feed from Moloney that put QC ahead 59-56 with one minute to play.
UDC got as close as one point on a Harrington lay-up with 13 seconds to play and the Firebirds had one last chance to win the game but Natasha Roy's three-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark.
Rowland had a team-high 14 points for Queens in the win while Ramon Lopez added 12 points and 14 rebounds for yet another double-double. Moloney was terrific for the Knights with 11 points, six rebounds, two steals and two assists in 35 minutes of play while Hopkins and Bonin each added nine points to the cause. UDC was led by a game-high 17 points from Quick as
Harrington and Lloyd added 13 and 12, respectively. The shooting percentages were fairly even on both sides, with QC shooting 43% (23-54) to UDC's 42% (24-57). The Knights earned the rebounding edge with a 38-28 margin but UDC stayed in the game thanks to 31 points off of 17 Queens turnovers.
The Queens College women's basketball team will be in action again on Tuesday (Jan. 30) as the Knights head to Sparkill, N.Y. for a contest with Saint Thomas Aquinas College. It will be the second time in six days that Queens and STAC will face off as the Spartans claimed a 64-50 victory at Fitzgerald Gymnasium back on Jan. 24.