By Michael Otero
Coming o a tough loss to NYIT, the women’s basketball team looked to rebound against Daemen College on Friday, Feb. 19, in Amherst, N.Y. The tightly contested game came down to the final minute of play, and Daemen scratched out a 57-53 win over the Pioneers.
The Pioneers kept themselves within striking distance early and trailed 32-26 at the break. Eight players contributed on the offensive side in the first half, led by junior forward Janaysia James who had six points.
After a third quarter which saw the Pioneers climb back into the game, they opened the fourth quarter on a 5-0 run, which put them ahead 46-44. Khea Gibbs made a big basket down the stretch to tie the game at 51, but Daemen outscored the Pioneers by four in the game’s last minute.
James finished with a team-high 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while junior forward Melsha Messam added 13 points and brought down 12 boards. Freshman guard Shannon Doyle also chipped in with five points, four rebounds, three assists and four steals.
In their next matchup against Roberts Wesleyan College on Sunday, Feb. 21, the Pioneers were again handed another loss; this one by a score of 67-60 from Rochester, N.Y.
The Pioneers got off to a strong start and took a 32-29 lead into the break. The Pioneers were led by Messam, who had 10 points at intermission, followed by Doyle, who had nine, and senior guard Jalyn Brown, who had two shots from behind the arc.
In the second half, Roberts Wesleyan began to break down the Pioneer defense and chip into the deficit. Behind 15 second half points from sophomore guard Brooke Fields, Roberts Wesleyan outscored the Pioneers by 10 and upended the Green and Gold.
Fields finished with 21 points while two other players recorded double-digit scoring outings, including senior forward Samantha Courtney, who also grabbed 11 boards for a double-double. For the Pioneers, Brown was the high scorer with 16 while Messam notched 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Head Coach Deirdre Moore and her squad wrap up their regular season on Saturday, Feb. 27, when they welcome the University of the District of Columbia to Pioneer Country. Tip-off from the Pratt Recreation Center is set for 1:30 p.m.