By Michael Otero
On Wednesday, Feb. 18, the women’s basketball team (15-10) returned to action when they took the court against the Lions from Molloy College (11-13) from Rockville Centre, N.Y. The wire-to-wire victory for the Pioneers was powered by senior guards Chelsea Williams with a game-high 26 points, and Ashley Castle who dropped 22 points.
The Pioneers came out of the gates swinging and went on a 17-2 run to start the game. During that span, Castle and junior guard Quanisha Ratley both scored five points while Williams earned her way to the free throw line for some easy points. The tone of the first half was set by that run and the Pioneers were clearly in control. They were the aggressors in the first half, able to get good shots and play solid defense at the other end. At halftime, the visitors were up 41-32.
The Green and Gold matched their energy output and overall level of play from the first half in the second half as they outscored the Lions by five. Williams and Castle led the team down the stretch with 15 and 12 points, respectively, as the Pioneers cruised to a 76-62 victory. They out-rebounded their opponents by 14 and held the Lions to just 37 percent from the field. Junior forward Nyasia Davis recorded another double-double in the victory while Ratley finished with 11 points.
The Pioneers returned home to Brookville, N.Y., on Saturday, Feb. 21, when they welcomed the Queens College Knights (18-6) to the Pratt Recreation Center. The contest was a back-and-forth battle with the lead changing hands multiple times. An extra period was needed to decide a winner and the Knights came out on top.
The Pioneers were led in the first half by Davis who grabbed eight boards and scored eight points while holding down the paint on the other end with three blocked shots. The Knights were up for most of the first half, but never pushed their lead passed seven points. They were led by sophomore guard Madison Rowland who scored 12 points in the first 20 minutes. Rowland, along with Davis, anchored both defenses and set the tone for the afternoon. At the break, the Knights held a slight advantage, 25-22.
Rowland continued her terrific play in the second half in route to her game-high 25 points, but the Pioneers did not back down. Instead, down by two with just under 18 minutes left, LIU went on a 24-10 run to pull ahead 49-36. The Knights, however, responded and went on a run of their own. They closed the second half on a 15-2 run and tied the game with free throws at the 18-second mark.
The overtime was dominated by the ladies from Queens College, as they held the Pioneers to zero makes from the field and went to the line 13 times. The 63-55 overtime loss is the second loss to the Knights this season for the Pioneers and their first loss in the extra period of play.
For the game, Davis finished with 12 points and 18 boards while Williams scored 12, grabbed seven rebounds, and dished out four assists. For the Knights, Kristen Korzevinski finished with 14 points while Rowland poured in 25 and snagged 13 boards.
Coach Deirdre Moore and her squad will return to action on Friday, Feb. 27, when they play host to the Daemen College Wildcats on Senior Night. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m.