NYACK, N.Y. (Feb. 21, 2018) – Beth Bonin scored a game-high 24 points and Kaitlyn Mahon had a near triple-double as the Queens College women's basketball team locked up an East Coast Conference Championship berth with a 66-58 victory over Mercy on Wednesday (Feb. 21) at Bowman Gymnasium in Nyack.
The win sealed the Knights' sixth consecutive appearance in the East Coast Conference Tournament, which begins with first-round action on Feb. 28.
As she has done for the past several games, Bonin got things rolling for Queens (12-13, 8-9 ECC) with a three-ball in the first twenty seconds of the quarter. The sophomore guard put her side up 5-2 a few minutes later with a lay-up but Amber Brown was quick to answer for Mercy (8-19, 3-14 ECC). Brown's lay-up just before the mid-point of the quarter started a 7-0 run that was punctuated by a three-pointer from Cynthia Perez as the Mavericks took an 11-9 lead with four minutes left in the opening frame. A three from Bonin gave QC a 15-13 lead mere seconds later but Abigail Collier's trifecta at the two-minute marker of the quarter put Mercy back in front. The Mavs led by five points with under thirty seconds remaining before a three-point play by Marina Ramon Lopez brought the Knights within a 20-18 deficit.
Mercy continued to keep Queens off the lead, grabbing a seven-point lead at the midway mark of the second quarter as free throws from Brown gave the hosts a 28-21 edge. The Mavericks led 33-24 with two-and-a-half minutes left in the first half following a Casey Sullivan bucket, but QC answered with a 7-0 run as Lucy Tougas started things with a lay-up. Following a Merrick Rowland treble and free throws from Bonin, the Knights were down by just two points with exactly one minute left to play. Perez and Monet Keane-Dawes put Mercy in front by seven points but Tougas rattled home a lay-up to end the half as Queens trailed 38-33 going into the break.
The third quarter commenced with jumpers by Mahon and Emer Moloney to once again bring Queens within a one-point deficit at 38-37 with a minute gone by in the frame; Mercy would once again push in front as a 6-0 run gave the Mavericks a 44-37 lead with seven-and-a-half minutes left in the quarter. The Knights answered with a 6-0 run of their own and the margin was just one point yet again at 44-43 with 4:43 left in the third quarter. Queens finally broke through on a Taliyah Hopkins jumper after several offensive rebounds by Moloney; this gave QC a 45-44 lead, its first advantage since the 15-13 lead back in the first quarter. After another Hopkins lay-up, the Knights were up 47-44 with four minutes left in the quarter...the 10-0 run spurring Queens onto a three-point edge.
Out of a Mercy time-out, Rowland connected for her first three-pointer of the game to give her side a 50-44 lead but Keane-Dawes finally got Mercy back on the scoreboard with a lay-up and subsequent free throws to get the hosts within two points with two minutes to go in the quarter. Moloney hit a jumper to close out the scoring in the frame for Queens and the Knights entered the fourth quarter up 52-48.
Ramon Lopez and Mahon opened the final quarter with points and an assist each as Queens opened up an eight-point lead that swelled to a nine-point edge on a Bonin three-ball with under seven minutes left in regulation. Mercy would get as close as four points down with less than a minute remaining, but Bonin hit five clutch free throws to seal the win and clinch the postseason berth for the Knights.
Bonin was 5-for-11 from three-point territory and went 7-for-8 from the free throw line in leading Queens to victory. Mahon played 34 minutes and had six points with eight assists and nine rebounds as Ramon Lopez collected another double-double (13 points, 12 rebounds). Hopkins added nine points and five rebounds off the bench as Queens went 23-for-60 (38%) from the floor and 7-for-17 (41%) from beyond the three-point line.
Brown led Mercy with 18 points and seven rebounds; Keane-Dawes scored seven points and added three assists to go along with 11 rebounds. The Mavericks were limited to a 3-for-17 (18%) performance from beyond the three-point line in the loss.
Now that QC has clinched a play-off berth, the only question that remains is where the Knights will be going and whether the team will be the fifth or sixth seed in the upcoming East Coast Conference Tournament. As it stands now, Queens will be the No. 6 seed facing Roberts Wesleyan in the quarterfinals up in Rochester; but the Knights could also potentially play at NYIT depending on how the rest of the week plays out.
Queens will host Bridgeport on Saturday (Feb. 24) at 1:30 p.m. at Lucille Kyvallos Court at Fitzgerald Gymnasium. It will be Senior Day for the Knights, who will honor Merrick Rowland and Marina Ramon Lopez.