The Berkeley College women's basketball team opened up their Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference portion of the schedule with a victory, defeating the Cannoneers of Pratt Institute by a score of 58-52 on Thursday evening. The game took place on the campus of the Borough of Manhattan Community College. With the victory, the Knights improved to a record of 3-6 (1-0 HVIAC) on the 2017-2018 campaign, while Pratt Institute dipped to 4-7 (0-1 HVIAC). Following the victory, Head Coach Alex Kuchar gave his thoughts.
"It was very gratifying to see us pick up a victory here this evening, but we need to do a better job of putting together 40 quality minutes of basketball, especially if we want to accomplish our ultimate goal which is to win a Regional championship and have an opportunity to compete in the National Tournament," Kuchar said. "I felt as though we rebounded the basketball well, and gave ourselves plenty of opportunities to get to the free throw line, but we need to be more efficient at protecting the basketball and executing on our high-percentage shots. We'll have a few days off before getting back to work Sunday at Albany."
Berkeley was paced in this one by Ayana Ratliff once again, as she led all scorers with 25 points while connecting on seven of her 20 attempts from the floor and 10 of her 16 shots from the free throw line. The junior also added seven rebounds, a team-high five assists, and two steals in 36 minutes of action. Jaiyamoira Myers put together a strong effort as well, as she hit on five of her 11 attempts from the floor, and three out of four from the charity stripe to finalize her night with 13 points, six rebounds, and three steals. Ashley Duplan was one of two Knights to play all 40 minutes. She scored 10 points and snatched eight rebounds, and Ebony Lofton logged 40 minutes and snatched a game-high 21 rebounds.
Despite the loss for Pratt Institute, the Cannoneers were paced in this game by Anna Bryce, as she scored a team-high 17 points while grabbing 12 rebounds and recording five assists. Amissa Epperson contributed 17 points, 12 rebounds, and a game-high seven blocks, and finally, it was AimeeLyn Miller putting forth a strong performance, as she posted a double-double with 11 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, and four steals.
The Knights set the tone for this game early, racing out to a 9-0 advantage just 6:51 into the contest. That opening spurt featured a converted free throw before the opening tip by Ratliff (Pratt Institute was charged an administrative technical foul prior to the start of the game), a basket by Duplan, a converted jumper by Crystal Miller, a bucket by Myers, and another hoop by Duplan. After the Cannoneers scored four consecutive points, the Knights went on a 15-0 run over a span of 8:06 to catapult to a 22-4 edge. The Knights went up by as many as 25 points in the opening half before heading into the locker room with a 34-16 lead.
Pratt Institute owned the third quarter, as the Cannoneers outscored the Knights 11-4 to cut to within 11 points – 38-27 – following 30 minutes of action. Later – with 4:21 remaining in the game and Berkeley College clinging to a 41-34 edge, Ratliff would connect on a layup and draw the foul. Pratt Institute's bench would then be issued a technical foul, and Ratliff would sink the three ensuing free throws (the and-one attempt and two technical freebees) to put the Knights back ahead 46-34. The nail in the coffin came 2:42 later, as Ratliff would convert on a layup to make it 55-47 in favor of Berkeley College. The Cannoneers would only connect on one more field goal the rest of the way, as the Knights advanced to win the game by six points (58-52).
Both teams struggled shooting the basketball on the evening, as the Knights hit on just 29.9 percent of their shots from the floor (20-67), compared to a 23.6 percent conversion rate for Pratt Institute (17-72). Berkeley won the turnover battle, committing 18 miscues compared to 20 for the Cannoneers, and the Knights tallied 10 steals to Pratt's eight. The Cannoneers out-rebounded the Knights by a count of 57-51, and Pratt Institute swatted seven shots (all by Epperson) compared to four for Berkeley.
Berkeley College will return to action on Sunday afternoon, as the Knights will head to Albany, NY, to battle the Albany College of Pharmacy Panthers in another conference contest. Start-time for that game is scheduled for 1:00pm.