The Berkeley College women's basketball team picked up a victory in its final tune-up for the upcoming 2017-2018 Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament, as the Knights dominated Vaughn College 76-35 in what was the regular season finale for both teams. The game took place at the Hill Center on the campus of St. Joseph's College of Brooklyn. Berkeley improved to 9-11 (4-2 HVIAC) with the win, while the Warriors finished their 2017-2018 campaign with a mark of 3-10 (0-6 HVIAC). Following the victory, Head Coach Alex Kuchar gave his thoughts.
"Obviously, it was important for us to establish some positive momentum as we get ready for the tournament this weekend," Kuchar said. "I feel that our student-athletes are ready. They're hungry for this game against the College of New Rochelle on Saturday. My message to them is to take things one play at a time. I told them not to get caught up in one particular play or moment. We need to play 40 minutes of team basketball if we want to beat the Blue Angels on their home court. I feel we can do it. I believe in our team."
Leading the way for the Knights in their ninth win of the season was Ratliff, as she posted game-highs of 31 points, six assists, and five steals. Duplan – who was named USCAA Player of the Week yesterday, continued her recent offensive tear, as she contributed 16 points while grabbing 11 rebounds, and Lofton posted a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 22 rebounds. Myers finished her evening with nine points and 10 caroms.
Despite the loss for Vaughn College, the Warriors were paced by Marceisha Howard, as she scored a team-high 23 points to go along with seven rebounds, a pair of blocks, and a pair of assists. Maia Rivers added seven points and a team-high nine rebounds.
The Knights never trailed in tonight's contest. Berkeley College led 4-0 and 9-3. After a 5-0 run brought Vaughn to with one point at 9-8, the Knights finished the quarter strong, going on an 11-0 run over the final 5:41 of the period to take a 20-8 advantage after 20 minutes of play. That aforementioned run included a basketball and a pair of free throws by Ebony Lofton, a three-point basket by Jaiyamoira Myers, a converted layup by Ayana Ratliff, and another layup by Lofton.
Berkeley would score the first four points of the second quarter to catapult ahead to a commanding 24-8 lead. The Knights would go ahead by as many as 20 points in the second quarter before taking a 36-18 edge into the locker room at halftime.
The Knights continued to put distance between themselves and the Warriors in the third quarter, outscoring Vaughn 21-10 in the period. Ratliff was a key contributor in widening the gap between Berkeley and the opposition, as she netted nine points in the third, shooting four-for-eight in the quarter. Miller and Ashley Duplan scored five points apiece in the period as well, and Berkeley held Vaughn to just three field goals in the quarter. The Knights led 57-28 after three.
In the fourth quarter, Berkeley College outscored Vaughn College 19-7 to account for the 41-point, 76-35 blowout victory.
The Knights connected on 39.3 percent of their attempts from the floor (33-84) compared to 17.6 percent for the Warriors (12-68). Berkeley grabbed a whopping 80 rebounds, compared to 34 for Vaughn College, and the Knights recorded 14 assists to the Warriors' seven. Berkeley recorded eight steals on the evening compared to two for the opposition, and both teams committed 10 turnovers apiece.
Berkeley College will now set its sights on its first-ever HVIAC title, as the Knights will begin their quest for that crown on Saturday afternoon. The Knights will enter the tournament as the No. 3 seed – and will play the No. 2 seed – the Blue Angels of the College of New Rochelle – at 3:00pm. All games this weekend will take place at New Rochelle's Wellness Center. Should Berkeley win Saturday, it would play in Sunday's 1:00pm title game against either Davis College or Pratt Institute.