ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. (Nov. 10, 2018) – A 27-point first quarter staked the Queens College women's basketball team out to a double-digit lead that the Knights would not lose, as QC claimed its season-opening contest with an 87-76 victory over Chestnut Hill on Saturday (Nov. 10) at Quealy Gymnasium in Rockville Centre.
Beth Bonin led all scorers with 23 points in the victory while My'eesa Grant debuted with a flourish, collecting a double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Kaitlyn Mahon added 16 points and three assists in the win; the three players combined to shoot 21-for-46 (46%) from the field in the win.
The contest, part of the season-opening ECC/CACC Conference Challenge held at Molloy College, was a re-match from one year ago and both teams got off to a slow start as Kaitlin Dougherty hit the game's opening bucket for Chestnut Hill before Emer Moloney dropped in a three-pointer to put Queens ahead by a 3-2 margin in the opening minute. Moloney scored two more on free throws before Jaeda Wildgoose cut the Griffins' deficit to one point at 5-4 with seven-and-a-half minutes to go in the quarter; from there, Queens embarked on a 22-1 run to end the first quarter up 27-6. Wildgoose's free throw with 4:35 to play in the quarter was the last point that Chestnut Hill scored, as QC built a 16-0 through the final stages of the frame. Grant rolled in a lay-up off of an assist by Mahon and Lakeisha Officer hit two free throws as the Knights led 15-6 with under four minutes remaining in the stanza. Following a free throw by Bonin, Lucy Tougas scored a two-pointer off the bench and Officer hit four straight free throws to push Queens ahead even further. A lay-up by Mahon and a three-ball from Nora Gabel closed out the quarter in favor of Queens.
Chestnut Hill rallied in the second quarter, holding the Knights to just 15 points---twelve of which came from Bonin as she hit three-pointer after three-pointer. The Griffins cut the deficit to twelve points late in the frame after a quick turnover and lay-up by Mary Trossi, but QC successfully broke the Griffins' press break and Tougas knocked down a wide-open lay-up to give the Knights a 42-28 lead briefly. Bri Hewlett knocked down consecutive three-pointers on the opposite end of the floor and the Knights would fend off their opponents just enough to go into the halftime break with a 42-36 lead.
Queens, however, utilized a 28-point third quarter to pull ahead and stay firmly in control of the contest. Grant scored the first points of the half on a lay-up just eight seconds into play; she would hit another lay-up off an assist by Bonin to give QC a 46-36 lead. The teams traded buckets and Chestnut Hill crept within seven with two-and-a-half minutes gone by in the frame. Grant scored on another lay-up and Bonin swished home a three-ball to put the Knights up 57-45 and the lead would swell from there on a Bonin lay-in with 2:23 to play in the period. The Knights led 70-52 at the end of the frame and did not yield as Chestnut Hill continued to keep the game close. With the Knights up 75-63 with four-and-a-half minutes to play in the game, Mahon scored on back-to-back buckets to effectively put the game out of reach.
Moloney added seven points, seven rebounds and five assists in an all-around effort for Queens while Tougas scored eight points and also had seven rebounds. Officer went 8-for-8 from the free throw line off the bench and totaled eight points and six rebounds as Gabel and Maia Fawcett both scored their first career collegiate points in the victory; Celina Roberts had three rebounds in her first collegiate start for the Knights.
Queens was dominant in winning the rebounding battle by a whopping thirty total boards (53-23), enjoying a 23-4 edge on the offensive glass. The offensive prowess led to twenty second-chance points as the Knights shot 40% (27-68) from the floor and 35% (6-17) from beyond the three-point line. Just as impressively, QC went to the free throw line 31 times and made 27 attempts for a team free throw percentage of 87.1%.
The squad returns to Rockville Centre Sunday (Nov. 11) to face off with Jefferson University at 2 p.m. in the final game of the four-team tournament.