MacKenzie Enters Exclusive Club, Knights Win Sixth in a Row

MacKenzie Enters Exclusive Club, Knights Win Sixth in a Row

FLUSHING, NY – Senior MacKenzie Rowland entered glorified territory within the Queens College women's basketball archives midway through the fourth quarter of Saturday's comfortable 71-51 victory over LIU Post, securing her 14th rebound of the game to become the third player in program history to surpass 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in her career.

Down 60-35 with just over seven minutes to go in the game, LIU Post's Kylie Garrett drove hard to the basket, jumping away from the rim to get her shot off only for MacKenzie to engulf the attempt, notching both a block and a rebound for the supreme defensive play. The rebound vaulted her into the exclusive company of Knights' greats Carolyn Burke and Shonda Holder who each surpassed 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds during their respective careers.

Beyond her joining the Queens College record books, MacKenzie led the Knights in both scoring and rebounding with 19 points and 17 boards for her ECC-leading eleventh double-double of the season.  After today's game, she boasts 1,502 points and 1003 rebounds for her career. Madison Rowland and Merrick Rowland were the two other Knights in double-figure scoring, with 17 and 14 points, and seven rebounds apiece. The win stretches Queens College's streak to six and increases their lead in the ECC standings with an 8-1 conference record and a 14-3 overall mark.

The game's lopsided final belies the trouble LIU Post caused Queens College at the start of the game. The Knights were lethargic, only managing two points in the first five minutes of the opening quarter. The Pioneers, too, had a fitful start but rattled off seven unanswered points to take a 13-6 advantage at the 1:30 mark. Queens responded with a promising sequence on the quarter's penultimate possession: Madison's closeout on a three-pointer gave her a block and jumpstarted a fastbreak led by senior Joya McFarland who found MacKenzie filling the lane for a lay-in. The Knights left enough time for a prayer to go up, though, and the Pioneers' Kristen Olsen took full advantage, launching a shot from halfcourt that banked in at the buzzer.

Things turned around in a big way during the second period. The Knights outscored LIU Post 29-3 over the stretch to take a commanding 38-19 advantage into halftime. Alternating scores by Madison and MacKenzie gave Queens College the lead, 17-16, at the 7:35 mark. The Knights kept tagging on points, widening their margin to 12 before the Pioneers finally broke through on a shaky jumper in the lane by Garrett at the 3:27 mark, which made it 28-18. Merrick answered right away with a three-pointer down the other end, beginning a stretch of her scoring eight straight points for Queens and contributing to their outsized margin at intermission.

LIU Post then appeared to capitulate at the beginning of the second half. The Knights' lead ballooned to 30 by the 4:35 mark in the third quarter after outscoring the Pioneers 12-2 during the stretch. Post picked up five points before the period ended, and outplayed the Knights in the final quarter to fall by 20. The loss is the Pioneers' second straight, dropping them to 5-3 in the conference and 8-9 overall. Garret led the team in scoring with 10 points, and Olsen chipped nine points from three three-pointers and six rebounds.

Going behind the box score, the Knights flipped the game around in the second by forcing the Pioneers into committing seven turnovers and limiting their team to 1-of-8 shooting from the floor during the stretch. Queens' unselfishness on the other end provided major dividends, too; after appearing flummoxed by LIU Post's defensive scheme in the opening period, Head Coach Bet Naumovski explored having the ball facilitated through MacKenzie in the post. She had four assists before intermission to pace the Knights into assisting on 12 of their 16 made baskets. The Knights' defensive effort was on point again to begin the third, forcing another four turnovers on their way to the 12-2 run and 30-point margin. Due in part because of their woeful second quarter, the Pioneers only managed to shoot 36 percent from the floor and finished the game with 19 turnovers.

The Knights stay at home for Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. matchup against nonconference opponent University of Sciences. Queens have a chance to make it seven in a row, but the Devils come in hot, winners of their last 10 in CACC-league games and out-of-conference action. Game time is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.