FLUSHING, N.Y. (Jan. 3, 2018) – Senior guard Merrick Rowland scored her 1,000th career point but the Queens College women's basketball team succumbed to a strong NYIT squad in an 89-81 defeat on Wednesday (Jan. 3) at Fitzgerald Gymnasium. Fellow senior Marina Ramon Lopez collected another double-double (29 points, 14 rebounds) in the loss for the Knights.
Queens (6-5, 2-1 ECC) started the first quarter with three buckets in three attempts as Ramon Lopez, Rowland and Beth Bonin all scored to give the Knights an early 6-2 lead on NYIT (9-5, 3-1 ECC) in the game's first ninety seconds. QC held an 8-6 edge midway through the first before Nina Vukosavljevic drilled her first of three three-pointers in the opening half; NYIT took a brief 9-8 lead at that point before Lucy Tougas knocked home a runner to give the Knights a 10-9 advantage. The visitors went on a 7-0 run with Hanna Ghonim scoring the first four points of the rally and NYIT led by as many as eight points in the first quarter before a jumper by Ramon Lopez at the buzzer cut the deficit to six points at 24-18.
Vukosavljevic hit a three-ball to start the second stanza of play as the Bears held their largest lead of the first half at 27-18 in the first minute of the frame. The Knights then went on an 11-4 run in the next four minutes of action, getting as close as a two-point deficit when Ramon Lopez scored to make it 31-29 in favor of NYIT with five-and-a-half minutes to play in the half. QC could not obtain the pivotal defensive stop to attempt a tying shot, however, as Maia Hood and Taylor Tripptree scored the game's next five points to put NYIT ahead by seven. Queens cut the lead again down to three points on an Emer Moloney and-one in the closing seconds of the half, but Kayla Bomani answered with a jumper from the wing to give the Bears a 45-40 edge going into the halftime break.
Bonin opened the second half scoring with a lay-up that brought the Knights within three points but each time Queens got within a few points of tying the game, NYIT had an answer. The Bears took a nine-point lead midway through the frame on a Taylor Tripptree lay-in, but Queens went on a 9-0 spurt in the next 100 seconds to even the score at 59-all. Rowland scored five points with Bonin and Moloney adding buckets of their own in the run. The Knights ended the third quarter on a 15-4 edge as QC led 65-63 after three periods of play.
In the fourth quarter, the Bears continued their run to re-take the lead 68-67 on a Vukosavljevic lay-in with 8:30 remaining in regulation. Rowland tied the game with 7:05 left on a free throw---her 1,000th career point---but NYIT would pull away from there thanks to a 21-13 spurt over the final few minutes of action. A three-ball by Ghonim with four minutes remaining put the Bears ahead by an 81-70 margin to put the game on ice.
Ramon Lopez went 14-of-19 from the field and pulled down a game-best five offensive rebounds while also contributing four assists for the Knights. Rowland had 17 points total to end the game while Moloney and Bonin added 11 and 10, respectively. The Knights won the rebounding margin by a 33-28 standing and shot 55% (36-65) from the floor in the loss.
NYIT was led by a 26-point game from Vukosavljevic, who also dished out nine assists. Ghonim---in her NYIT debut---had 23 points and five rebounds and Shalie Frierson added 17 points. The Bears were 25-for-32 (78%) from the free-throw line in the win.
The loss snaps QC's 21-game home winning streak, as the Knights had not lost in Fitzgerald Gymnasium since Feb. 10, 2016 when Queens dropped a 61-56 decision to NYIT.
The Knights are next in action on the road on Saturday (Jan. 6) at LIU Post. Tip-off from the Pratt Recreation Center is set for 1:30 p.m.