ROCHESTER, N.Y. (Feb. 16, 2018) – Taliyah Hopkins played the game of her brief career with the Queens College women's basketball team as the junior guard scored a game-high 26 points off the bench to lead the Knights to a stunning 57-55 win over Roberts Wesleyan on Friday (Feb. 16) at the Voller Athletic Center.
The win bolsters the play-off chances for Queens (11-12, 7-8 ECC) while Roberts Wesleyan (17-8, 11-4 ECC) had already clinched a postseason berth before the night began. The Redhawks were also No. 8 in the NCAA Regional Rankings, which were released earlier in the week.
The Knights jumped out to a 5-0 lead after Beth Bonin's lay-up and Merrick Rowland's three-pointer put QC ahead in the first three minutes of action. Roberts scored on consecutive threes by Taya Andrews and Lucy Covley but Hopkins hit a jumper at the midway point of the quarter to put Queens up 7-6. Rowland and Hopkins continued the offense for the Knights while Emer Moloney knocked down a jumper with twelve seconds remaining to end the first quarter as the visitors led 14-10. The second quarter belonged to Hopkins, who scored 13 of the Knights' 22 points in the ten-minute frame including nine in a row to end the first half with Queens leading 36-27 over the Redhawks.
Roberts Wesleyan came out on fire in the second half as Covley and Andrews collected back-to-back threes to bring their side within a 36-33 deficit just two minutes into the frame. Hopkins answered with a basket before Sara Nady and Covley combined to tie the score at 38-all midway through the third period. Taylor Bynoe and Emily Miller hit lay-ups in the next two minutes, giving Roberts Wesleyan a 42-38 advantage but Hopkins and Marina Ramon Lopez were quick to answer in keeping the score level at 42-42. Free throws ended the quarter as neither team hit a field goal in the last three minutes of play, with Queens up 44-43 going into the fourth quarter.
In the final period, Kaitlyn Mahon put the Knights up for good with a pair of free throws just 90 seconds into play; the 46-45 lead for QC was strengthened after Hopkins scored four straight points in the span of a minute to put the visitors up 50-45 with seven minutes remaining. Roberts Wesleyan got within two points a few minutes later with Andrews hitting a three-pointer and the pressure peaked with Queens up 54-52 with fifteen seconds left. Andrews hit one of two free throws, however, and the Knights persevered by knocking down their shots from the stripe to quell any last-second heroics from the Redhawks.
Hopkins' 26 points came on a 10-for-15 night from the field with five rebounds and two blocks. She was the lone Knight in double-figures in points, though Ramon Lopez had twelve rebounds as Queens was plus-nine (43-34) in the rebounding category. Bonin had eight points to go along with four rebounds and three assists. Roberts was led by a 19-point night from Andrews with four rebounds and two assists. Covley added nine points and six rebounds while Miller had eight points and seven boards.
The Knights continue the Western New York swing on Sunday (Feb. 18) when Queens travels to Amherst to face Daemen at 1 p.m.