NEWBURGH, N.Y. — With four in double-figures, led by Kelly O'Donnell's (Brooklyn, N.Y./St. Edmund Prep) game-high 27 points, the No. 4 St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) women's basketball team (18-9) knocked off No. 1 Mount Saint Mary College (20-6), 72-57, on Thursday night from the Kaplan Center.
The 15-point triumph gives the Bears a spot in Saturday's Skyline Championship Final, where they'll face off against No. 3 U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at 1 p.m.
How it Happened
The Knights got off to an early 5-0 start and scored seven of the first nine points of the game. A Jamie Provino (Harrison, N.Y./Harrison) three pulled the Bears within two before O'Donnell hit a pair of buckets to take the lead and the Bears went on an 11-0 run. The hosts narrowed their deficit to one on a Morina Bojka jumper. However, Provino drained a pair of treys to give the Bears a seven-point advantage, 21-14, entering the second frame.
MSMC erased their deficit two minutes into the second quarter. After a three-minute scoring drought that had the Knights tie the game back up at 21-all, Alexis Breen (Union Beach, N.J./Keyport) went the length of the floor and hit a layup to put the Bears up by two, 23-21. The teams traded the lead a few times and the Bears looked poised to carry a two-point lead into the lockers Torina Tabasco knocked down a buzzer-beating trey, giving the Knights a 28-27 halftime lead.
O'Donnell converted a pair of three-point plays to begin the second half. Provino's fourth triple pushed the lead to 33-28. In a third quarter that saw five ties and seven lead changes, Mount Saint Mary was up by four, 41-37, with under five minutes to play in the period. Breen, for her part, kept St. Joseph's within reach thanks to back-to-back threes with 3:49 on the clock and the Bears went into the final break with the upper hand, 50-47.
The navy and gray held on to their lead throughout the final stanza with Quesada and O'Donnell hitting three of the first nine points in the period. With 5:03 to play, the hosts came within a possession from tying on a three by Bojka, 56-53. But the Bears responded with a 10-2 run led by O'Donnell, Kiley and Deserae Sequeira (Clark, N.J./Arthur L. Johnson), Kiley's and-one pushing the lead to 11, 66-55, with 1:20 to play. The Bears held the Knights to just 19 percent shooting (9-of-21) in the fourth and outscored them 22-10 to secure a place in Saturday's Championship final.
Post-Game Press Conference
For the Bears
- O'Donnell shot 9-of-11 from the field for her game-high 27 points. She also collected eight caroms and forced a trio of steals.
- Provino knocked down 12 points on 4-of-6 from the field and 4-of-5 from three-point land. The sophomore also picked up five rebounds.
- Lauren Quesada (Westbury, N.Y./St. Francis Prep) and Breen each scored 10 points on the night. Quesada recorded a game-high +20 plus-minus and added eight rebounds and four steals. Breen reached double-figures in a solid 15 minutes off the bench.
- Sequeira flirted with a double-double dishing out nine assists and grabbing as many rebounds along with five points.
- The Bears snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Knights picking up their first win in Newburgh, their first win since joining the Skyline, and their first since 2014.
- St. Joseph's extended their win streak to seven games, their longest streak since the 2014-15 season.
No. 4 SJC will visit reigning conference champion No. 3 Merchant Marine, who knocked off No. 2 Manhattanville, 68-60, in the other semifinal in Purchase. The #SkylineWBB Championship Final is set for Saturday, February 29 at 1 p.m. with the winner also earning the league's automatic berth to the 2020 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship. Live stats and video available on SJCBears.com/live.