The Berkeley College women's basketball team clinched a berth in the 2016-2017 Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament on Saturday afternoon by defeating the Panthers of Albany College of Pharmacy by a score of 69-60 in a game played at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. With the victory, the Knights have now won six of their last eight games and sit at 6-9 on the season (3-3 in league play). The Panthers dropped to 10-8 on the year, and 5-1 in conference action.
The Knights never trailed in this game, and controlled the tempo from start to finish. In the first quarter – with the game tied at eight apiece – Berkeley went on a 10-0 run that featured a converted jumper by Ashley Duplan, a three-point play by Baytania Newman, a three-point basket by Gianna Acosta, and a layup by Akiah Luceus to go up by a score of 18-8. The Knights led 18-12 after one quarter.
Albany College of Pharmacy inched to within two points early in the second quarter, but a 10-2 Knights run put Berkeley College back ahead 32-22. In what proved to be a back-and-forth half, the Panthers would put together a 7-0 run to pull to within three points, 32-29. The Knights held a 34-31 advantage at the break.
The third quarter would mirror the second, as the Knights would go on a run that gave off the impression that perhaps they would pull away from the Panthers, but Albany College of Pharmacy would put together a run to stay within striking distance. Berkeley outscored the Panthers 10-4 to begin the period to catapult to a lead of nine – 44-35, but Albany College of Pharmacy would close the quarter on a 10-5 run, as the Knights led 49-45 after three.
Late in the fourth – the Knights held a slim 60-58 edge with 2:49 remaining before finally closing the door. Newman would hit a key jumper to put Berkeley up 62-58 with 2:23 to play. 34 seconds later, Ashley Duplan would connect on a jumper from downtown to increase the Knights' advantage to seven points – 65-58 – with 1:49 to go. Berkeley would allow just one more opposing field goal in the final 109 seconds of play, and the Knights eventually went on to win the game by nine.
Newman dominated the game for the Knights, and came up clutch numerous times down the stretch, as she finished with a game-high 22 points while connecting on 10 of her 20 shots from the floor. She also added a team-high eight assists to go along with seven rebounds and three steals. Duplan nailed five shots from beyond-the-arc to finalize her afternoon with 19 points, and Luceus posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Despite the loss for Albany College of Pharmacy, it was Emma Webster draining all five of her attempts from beyond-the-arc to finish with a team-high 20 points. She also added three steals and three assists. Dennie Griffin posted a double-double with 18 points and 18 rebounds, and Ayla Thompson added 10 points, two steals, and two rebounds.
The shooting percentages were nearly even for these two clubs, with the Knights connecting on 44.1 percent of their attempts from the floor (30-68) compared to a 42.4 percent conversion rate for the Panthers (25-59). Berkeley held a slim 38-37 edge in the rebounding department, while also winning the turnover battle while committing 15 mistakes and forcing 19.
Berkeley College will now have six days off before entering the 2016-2017 Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament as the No. 4 seed. The Knights will take on the No. 1 seeded Panthers of Albany College of Pharmacy in the semifinal round on Saturday, February 18, at 5:00pm. The game will take place at the Wellness Center on the campus of the College of New Rochelle. Should the Knights win that contest, they will advance to the championship game, which would take place the following day against an opponent to-be-determined.