The Berkeley College women's basketball team suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the semifinal round of the 2016-2017 Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament on Saturday evening, falling to the No. 1 seeded Panthers of Albany College of Pharmacy by a score of 69-64 in overtime. The game took place at the Wellness Center on the campus of the College of New Rochelle.
The Knights finalized their season at 6-10 with the defeat, while the Panthers improved to 11-8 on the season, and will shoot for a regional championship tomorrow against either the No. 2 seeded Blue Angels of the College of New Rochelle, or the Falcons of Davis College. That championship contest is set for 3:00pm.
Berkeley – who defeated the Panthers in the regular season finale exactly one week ago – looked to be in prime position to advance to the regional championship game, as the Knights led by as many as 12 points before taking a 10 point cushion into the locker room at halftime. In the fourth quarter – with 7:50 remaining – Berkeley held a 48-40 edge, but that's when Albany College of Pharmacy started to make its push.
Dannie Griffin's converted jumper brought the Panthers to within six points at 48-42 with 7:27 left – and just 27 seconds after that – Griffin drained a pair of free throws to pull her squad to within four. On the Knights' next possession, Akiah Luceus would bank-in a layup to push Berkeley College's lead back to six at 50-44, but an 8-0 Panthers run over a span of 2:52 put Albany College of Pharmacy ahead 52-50.
Head Coach Alex Kuchar would then take a 30-second timeout. Coming out of the timeout, Baytania Newman would drive into the paint and sink a layup to tie the game at 52 apiece. Later – with the game tied at 55-all and under a minute remaining in regulation, Newman and Griffin would trade baskets within a span of 14 seconds. The Knights had possession with seven seconds remaining and a chance to win, but Newman couldn't convert on a layup, and the contest headed to overtime.
In the extra session, Berkeley trailed by a score of 63-62, when Luceus drew a foul. She would proceed to connect on a pair of free throws with 1:28 remaining to give her team a one-point lead. That would be the final point the Knights would score, though, as Albany College of Pharmacy would finish the game on a 6-0 run to go on to win the semifinal round contest by five points.
Despite the loss for the Knights, Newman would put together one of the most dominant performances in the history of the Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament, as she connected on 13 of her 26 shots from the floor to finish with a game-high 35 points. She also recorded a game-high 13 steals, and posted a team-high of 11 rebounds, and a game-high seven assists. In addition, Gianna Acosta connected on four three-point baskets to finish with 13 points. She also added 10 rebounds as well. Luceus finalized her evening with eight points and seven rebounds.
Leading the way for the Panthers in their victory was the Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year Dannie Griffin, as she scored a team-high 25 points and collected a game-high 14 rebounds. Additionally, she grabbed five assists and swatted four shots. Emma Webster added 16 points, two rebounds, and a pair of assists, and Rebecca Foote finalized her night with 11 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
Albany College of Pharmacy was more efficient with its shooting on the night, converting on 44.6 percent of their attempts from the floor (25-56) compared to just a 30.3 conversion rate for the Knights (23-76). Berkeley out-rebounded the Panthers 49-42, while also winning the turnover battle by committing just 22 and forcing 29 Albany College of Pharmacy mistakes.