BROOKLYN, N.Y. — No. 4 seed St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) is set to play host to No. 5 seed College of Mount Saint Vincent in the first round of the 2020 Skyline Conference Women's Basketball Championship this Tuesday, February 25, at 7 p.m. — the second home playoff game at The Hill Center in as many years.
The winner will travel to Newburgh to take on No. 1 seed Mount Saint Mary in the semifinals on Thursday night.
Date: Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Time: 7 pm
Location: The Hill Center (212 Vanderbilt Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11205)
2019-20 Regular-Season Meetings
November 26, 2019
St. Joseph's 79, Mount Saint Vincent 76
The Hill Center - Brooklyn, N.Y. | Boxscore
St. Joseph's led by as many 15 in the 3rd before CMSV had a late surge to take the lead with less than a minute remaining. Jamie Provino drilled a three-pointer with 17 seconds left that proved to be the difference in a 79-76 win.
Kelly O'Donnell (Brooklyn, N.Y./St. Edmund Prep) led four Bears in double-figures with a team-high 20 points. Lauren Quesada (Westbury, N.Y./St. Francis Prep) followed with an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double. Provino finished with a then-season-high 17 and Lauren Duggan (Breezy Point, N.Y./St. Saviour) chipped in 11 points, also a then-season-highs.
DarNeisha Brice went off for a season-high 43 points in the game and Dez Brown who scored 10 on the night for the Dolphins in a losing effort.
February 18, 2020
St. Joseph's 62, Mount Saint Vincent 59
Peter Jay Sharp Center - Bronx, N.Y. | Boxscore
The return meeting in the Bronx just a week ago saw the Bears with another double-digit lead at halftime shrink to just one at the start of the fourth. The Dolphins took a five-point lead with 5:29 to play, before the Bears closed out the game on a 14-5 run for a 62-59 victory.
O'Donnell and Emma Kiley (Whitestone, N.Y./Archbishop Molloy) combined to score 52 of the team's 62 points. O'Donnell went for 35 points, her third 30-plus point game, while Kiley scored 17. On the glass, the pair gathered 14 and 13 boards, respectively. However, one of the most critical rebounds of the encounter came when Deserae Sequeira (Clark, N.J./Arthur L. Johnson) collected a carom with seven seconds remaining before icing the game from the charity stripe en route to the three-point victory; solidifying the No. 4 seed in the process.
Brice, the only Dolphin to play all 80 minutes against SJC, again led the team with 25 points. She also forced five steals and dished out three assists.
The Bear Facts
SJC is led by Kelly O'Donnell who enters the game at No. 10 in scoring in Division III with a Skyline-leading 21.8 points per game. She also cracks into the top 10 nationally in made free throws with 133. The junior guard joined the coveted 1,000 career point mark against borough rivals Brooklyn College and finds herself eight points away from 1,500 career points — the career-leading scorer among all active juniors in the nation.
On the boards, O'Donnell sees herself third in the conference with 10.2 rebounds per game and is one of just two players in the league this season to average a double-double. She has contributed to the team's Division III-leading 34.6 defensive rebounds per game with a team-high 6.7 defensive boards per game.
Following her record-setting 13-assist game in the first meeting against CMSV, Deserae Sequeira dished out 14 dimes her next time out against SJC Long Island to break her own record. The junior's career-high 16 rebounds against the Golden Eagles led to the first double-double of her career. She recorded her second double-double in the return game against Long Island, going for 14 boards and 11 assists. Sequeira closed out the regular season with 150 total dimes, good for eighth in the nation and 6.0 assists per game, placing her in ninth. She leads the conference in both categories.
O'Donnell and Sequeira are the only two Bears to start all 25 games of the 2019-20 campaign.
With four Skyline Rookie of the Week honors to her name, Emma Kiley made her presence felt early on in the season, posting 24 points and 15 rebounds in her second career game against then-nationally ranked Emmanuel College. In her home debut against Brooklyn, she scored a season-high 29 points. She went on to score 20-plus points on four other occasions this season, all of which came against conference opposition. Kiley is also shooting 46.8 percent from the field to lead the Skyline.
On the defensive end, she is second on the team and fifth in the conference with 9.8 rebounds. In just 20 games, the freshman center set the program record for blocks in a season. Kiley currently holds the league lead, and is fourth in the nation, with 84 total blocks and 3.48 blocks per game.
This marks the second time in as many seasons the Bears will host a Skyline playoff game at The Hill Center. St. Joseph's makes their fourth appearance in the last five years in the Skyline Championship and looks to advance to the semifinals for the first time.
Among the six playoff teams, the Bears possess the longest win streak heading into the postseason at five games. Dating back to November 2018, the Bears came out on the winning side in each of the last four meetings with Mount Saint Vincent, which includes a pair of three-point triumphs to sweep the regular-season series from the Dolphins this season.
Mount Saint Vincent was picked to finish eighth in the preseason coaches poll and returns to the postseason after missing out in 2019, their first time missing the playoffs after six straight. The Dolphins won their lone title in 2015 as the No. 2 seed and upsetting top-seeded Farmingdale State in the final.
In her first season at Mount Saint Vincent, senior transfer DarNeisha Brice is the team's leading scorer with 16.6 points per game; good enough for third in the Skyline. After a three-year career at the College of New Rochelle where she amassed 1,259 points, she now has 1,658 points which is No. 10 among all Division III active players. She is a two-time Skyline Player of the Week, most recently in December after her career-high 43-point outburst against the Bears.
Brice averaged 30.5 points in games against Sarah Lawrence and Yeshiva earlier this month to help the Dolphins secure the No. 5 seed in the Skyline Championships. Along with her points per game lead, Brice leads the team in most offensive statistics including coming in the top five in the Skyline in three-point field goals (58, 2nd) and three-point field goals per game (2.42, 3rd). The volume shooter leads the conference in total field goal attempts with 467.
Aria Rheams is the second-leading scorer at 12.9 points a game and leads the team in most defensive categories. She breaks into the top 10 in steals (53, 6th), rebounds (230, 7th), and rebounds per game (9.6, 7th). On offense, her 97 made free throws are second in the conference, behind O'Donnell. Starting 23 of 24 games, Rheams has also seen the most playing time on the Dolphins, averaging 33.96 minutes per game.
Sophomore Victoria Hanley and freshman Kira Villegas joined the team after the turn of the new year and eventually worked their way into the starting lineup. The pair averages just under double figures at 9.5 and 9.1 points, respectively. Hanley scored in double-figures in each of her first three games for the CMSV, including 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting against Mount Saint Mary. She picked up her first double-double later on in the season against Purchase (18 pts, 11 reb). Villegas scored her season-high of 20 points against Old Westbury on February 15. However, the two were limited to six points each against SJC in the second meeting.