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Queens Lady Knights trounce New York Institute of Technology

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The foreign is becoming quite familiar for the Queens College women’s basketball team. It seems that with each win the coaching staff is forced to dust off the record books. But more important than trying to find out the last time the Lady Knights defeated a certain conference opponent, the team is shattering the belief of recent years that they are a New York Collegiate Athletic Conference doormat.

On Saturday night at Fitzgerald Gymnasium, the Lady Knights took another major step by opening up an unheard of 28-6 halftime lead en route to a 58-27 blowout over New York Institute of Technology. It was the first time in at least seven years the Lady Knights were on the winning end of a NYCAC romp.

For a change it was Jill Kraft and Theresa Dollard who shared a laugh on the bench in the closing moments and it was head coach Jerry Ingenito who was able to coach the game from his chair, rather than pacing the sideline.

“It was enjoyable to be able to stay on top of them throughout,” Ingenito said. “After two and a half years, look where we are now. Finally, I think we’re all in line for the same goal.”

“It feels good not to be upset at the end of the game,” added Kraft, who had nine points.

The win extended the Lady Knights longest winning streak of the year to four games and avenged a 65-56 overtime loss at NYIT Dec. 13. Queens is now tied for third place in the conference with C.W. Post and the win puts them on pace to make the NYCAC tournament for the first time since 1994-95, when they garnered the eighth and final seed and lost to former conference giant College of St. Rose in the opening round.

“This is a good feeling, I guess we learning not to let up,” said freshman guard Erin Dollard, who was solid running the point for Queens. She finished with 10 points, nine rebounds, six steals, six turnovers and five assists. “[In the loss] we didn’t go strong. Tonight out defense was great.”

The combination of a solid man-to-man defense by Queens (9-8, 8-4) and horrendous shooting by Tech led to the Lady Bears six point-first half. New York Tech (3-13, 2-9) shot 6.1 percent (2-for-33) in the opening 20 minutes.

In their first meeting of the season, NYIT was extremely successful from three-point range, but on Saturday they were equally abysmal, hitting just 1-of-20 attempts (five percent) from beyond the arc.

“I told them [at halftime] to hold them to six percent, our defense was good,” Ingenito said. “I also thought we started to make stronger moves to the basket, which is something we’ve been trying to work on. We weren’t getting to the foul line enough, but tonight we made some power moves.”

While both Erin and Theresa Dollard (10 points) did a nice job of slashing to the basket, the interior play of senior Elena Rakova and freshman Kerri Graham was equally impressive. Rakova finished with a game-high 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Graham had four points and seven rebounds. The Lady Knights outrebounded NYIT, 62-37.

“Our rebounding was the big thing, that is what got the offense going tonight,” Kraft said. “Even though we weren’t making some of our layups, we were getting rebounds, getting putbacks and playing defense.”

Amazingly, the game was tied at 2-2 before Queens went on a 14-0 run, capped by a Rakova putback to take a 16-2 lead. After freshman Tiffany McDonald, an August Martin grad from Cambria Heights, hit a 14-foot baseline jumper, the Lady Knights outscored the Lady Bears 12-4 to put the game away at the end of the first half.

After hosting Bridgeport (1-16, 1-11) in a game scheduled for Wednesday, Queens plays at Mercy (2-13, 2-9) Saturday before taking on C.W. Post (9-6, 8-4) at Fitzgerald Gymnasium Monday at 5 p.m.

Queens 65, Southampton 51. Trailing 47-43 with five minutes left, the Lady Knights went on a 22-4 run to close out the game last Wednesday at Southampton. Rakova scored 19 points, while Erin Dollard added 14 and freshman walk-on Crystal Wilson came off the bench to grab a team-high 10 rebounds.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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