Photo by Jeff Weisinger / Beaver Beat
By Curtis Ashley
It’s been quite a while. No, not since the City College Women’s basketball team defeated York. That happened twice in the regular season. It’s been a long time since the team has won a postseason game, a streak they snapped with the 80-30 demolition of the Cardinals in the CUNYAC Tournament quarterfinals.
To be exact, it has been 14 years since the program has seen a playoff win, let alone at home. The last occurrence was in the 2001-02 season when they defeated Baruch in the quarterfinals. The game against York also ended with the largest margin of victory ever in program history: 50 points. Before this it was 47 points, posted by the team in the 1995-96 season in a game against the Lehman Lightning. 80 points is also the largest amount of points the team has scored in the playoffs since that 2001-02 season, when they put up 79 against York in an overtime loss. After a season full of milestones and broken records, this City Women’s basketball team has no intentions of slowing down now.
“I’m really glad that we can all be a part of this win, setting history for CCNY and putting women’s basketball on the map,” Erika Richards said after the game.
The team’s success even warranted the conference bestowing the ‘Coach of the Year’ title on Jaime Angeli. The last time a CCNY head coach received the award was in the 1992-93 season.
“I was thinking before the game, regardless if we lost this game, most people wouldn’t have been thinking of my Coach of the Year award,” a modest Angeli said after the game.
Scoring wasn’t an issue, and ball distribution was no problem for the girls either. Each player that stepped on the court for City scored a bucket in some way. Tiara Brown earned yet another double-double, leading the game in scoring with 17 points, along with 10 rebounds and four assists. Richards had 16 points off a pair of three pointers. Robin Daley nearly had a double-double herself, scoring 10 points and grabbing nine boards.
It wasn’t just the starters who had an impact in the game. Alexis Akridge led the team in bench points with nine, along with seven rebounds. The bench put up 30 points on their own, tying how much York’s entire squad was able to score.
“They’re feeling great for the people on our bench that got a chance to play, which is what you want from a team, from a basketball family, to have that. Genuine love and appreciation for those girls who come in and play well,” Angeli commented.
That love and appreciation, mixed with the confidence and chemistry that carried over from the regular season, helped propel the girls over York, and then some. After York took an early 4-0 lead, it was all City. The Lady Beavers went on a 22-0 run that stretched into the second quarter. The game was pretty much over by the half, with a score of 35-12. But rules are rules, and the game doesn’t en until all four quarters are played. City would come out the half and only add to what was an utter annihilation of the Cardinals.
Once the game was in the bag, which was rather early, the focus shifted from York, to the game ahead against Lehman.
“We came outta here with nothing but positives, we’re feeling really good. We did have some great practices coming up to this game,” Jaime said. “I think we’re ready. I can’t tell what’s going to happen Wednesday night but I really believe we’re gonna go down swinging.”
“Everyone has a sense of urgency and is working harder than ever. I feel like we all want this more than anything,” Taylor Pompilio had to say about the teams attitude heading into the Wednesday match-up.
Unlike York, Lehman is a team the girls have not beaten twice, instead it’s vise versa. City looks to get things right the third go around, and the most important.
“We’re definitely in no shape or form to be cocky because we lost to them both times. But confident, yes, now that we’re here,” Daley commented. “I don’t think Lehman wants to play us, especially to be the team to play them to get to the championship. It’s just positive vibes, that’s about it. I’m just ready to play.”
The game will be played in the Nat Holman Gymnasium, with City being the venue for the rest of the tournament, men’s and women’s. There will be two games played that night. City faces Lehman, while CSI faces Brooklyn in the other semifinal contest. The winners meet on Sunday in the championship game.
“I definitely feel like this is all happening for a reason. I don’t think we got this far just to lose on Wednesday. I think we really gonna upset Lehman.”