Despite a strong first half that saw them lead by 10 over the playoff-bound Lehman Lightning, City College’s Women’s Basketball team fell 67-63 in overtime, their record dropping to 4-16 overall and 2-10 in the CUNY Athletic Conference.
With Carol Yu starting her second game in a row as City’s point guard, the Beavers got off to a hot start in the first half thanks to her five points, three rebounds, and three assists in the period. In what was perhaps their best offensive half of the entire season, City was aggressive in getting to the free throw line by consistently driving in through the paint, and making their free throws (most notably Marissa Olsen, who knocked down all four of her free throw opportunities). Complementing the fluid passing and quick ball movement was dominance in rebounds, as City out-rebounded Lehman 23 to 12 during the first half.
The Lady Beavers even managed to contain Lehman’s standout star Jennifer Navarro, who recently scored her 1,000th college career point, to just one point in the first half on four shot attempts. Navarro, usually a shooting guard, filled in at the point for Amely Del Rosario, who is currently recovering from a hyper-extended left knee.
And then came the second half. The ball movement slowed. The rebounds weren’t getting caught. Lehman wouldn’t let them into the paint. A nine-point lead became a four-point lead by the time there were ten minutes left in the second half. The anxiety increased. So did the turnovers.
The team that strolled into a foreign gym at 13-6 and trailed at the half then flipped the switch. Navarro, who was contained so well by City’s defense in the first half, went on to score 14 in the second half. She probably summed up the attitude of Lehman’s bench as best as she could in as few words as possible.
“Enough was enough. I want to win. That’s just it,” she said. Navarro would finish with two rebounds and two assists to go along with her 15 points on the night.
With 40 seconds left in the game, a clutch three-point shot by Amani Lightbourne (19 points, 9 assists, 3 rebounds), tied it up, evaporating the lead City held for so long.
Given an opportunity to score go-ahead points with 17 seconds left, the usually reliable Robin Daley (11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals) missed a layup while facing double coverage from Lightning defenders.
That sent it to overtime, but the feared outcome seemed to have already been decided as soon as the opening tip of overtime was introduced. Lehman would go on to outscore City 8 to 4 in OT to come away with the win.
The loss is City’s fifth in a row. With five games to play, they sit in second to last place, ahead of Medgar Evers (0-11 CUNYAC, 1-19 overall). Their next game is against CSI at the College of Staten Island on Tuesday, February 3rd, at 7:30pm.
– Marissa Olsen leads the Beavers in free throw percentage, sinking 67% of her attempts from the line. She’s also 13 for her last 23 in field goal attempts over the last three games, good for a 57% shooting percentage. Coupled with her averaging 5.6 rebounds a game this season, she continues to emerge as a reliable scoring option.
– Tiara Brown is doing everything she possibly can. With 12 points, 14 rebounds, and two assists, she has scored in double digits in all but three of the ten games she’s played this season (scoring nine in two of those three that she didn’t score double digits). Incredibly enough, she’s also recorded double digits in rebounds in all but three of ten games she has played this year as well. Her season line stands at a stellar 13.4 points per game, a .527 FG%, and 64% free throw percentage. City has often been out-rebounded by other teams this season. When they’re not, Brown is usually the reason why.
– Robin Daley has been consistent as a force in the paint, averaging 9.9 points and 7.3 boards per game. She sits in tenth place for rebounds in the CUNY Athletic Conference.
– Liz Durchhalter led the Beavers in scoring with 14 points, two assists, and two rebounds. She went 5 for 10 from the field, including 3 of 8 from beyond the arc. She’s beginning to heat up with 24 points in her last two games on 9 of 20 shooting, including 4 of 10 from long range. Being City’s only reliable outside shooter, her being comfortable with her shot means a great deal to the Beaver’s success, especially if interior scoring options like Brown, Daley, or Olsen aren’t finding good options for shots in the paint.
– Carol Yu finished tonight with 8 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds. She only turned the ball over twice. She handed out the most assists to the Beavers in a single game since Taylor Pompilio notched eight on December 5th, 2014 against York College. Though she was 3-10 on shooting, one of her buckets was a three-pointer. Yu is already showing development at game-calling, pass selection, shot selection, and ball-handling. The more she can minimize her turnovers, the better chance she gives City’s aforementioned scoring weapons. Though her shot remains a work in progress, a 30% shooting rate is a fine place to start for someone whose coach has gone as far as to say “she’s got a weird-looking shot,” and it is certainly better than the production that was given at her position previously.