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Back-to-back losses drop York women to tourney’s No. 4 seed

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By Dylan Butler

Heading into the final week of its CUNY regular season schedule, the York women’s basketball team had the chance to clinch the conference’s top seed with wins in its last two games.

Instead, the Lady Cardinals head into the CUNY tournament reeling from two straight losses, a 57-45 loss to Medgar Evers last Wednesday and an 85-68 rout at the hands of the College of Staten Island Saturday at the Sports and Recreation Center at CSI.

The loss drops York to the No. 4 seed and the Lady Cardinals will open the CUNY tournament with a quarterfinal matchup against host City College Saturday at 4:45 p.m.

After cruising through the regular season with just a seven-player rotation, conference opponents may begin to think aloud if Jackie Smith’s squad has simply run out of gas.

“Not at all,” said York junior Tamara Taylor. “We’re not losing our strength. The playoffs are a whole different story.”

Against Medgar Evers, York (15-5, 10-3) was without both Taylor (flu) and Garrianne Brown (head injury). Both players were healthy Saturday, but the duo struggled from the field, combining to shoot 16-for-45.

“The offense in this game was ice cold,” Smith said. “I don’t know what it was, but we couldn’t buy a bucket. We just had an off day. I guess they’ll be days like these.”

What made matters worse for Smith was that while the offense couldn’t get in gear, the defense also struggled mightily in the first half.

CSI (16-7, 10-3) jumped out to a 10-2 lead and, on a 15-3 run, opened up a 29-13 lead with 6:52 left.

Dolphins senior Courtney Aimetti was unstoppable in the paint. Playing in her last home game, the Staten Island native scored at will down low in the first half. She scored 18 points, on 9-for-10 shooting, and had nine rebounds as Staten Island led 42-23 at the break. She finished with 30 points and 18 rebounds.

“The bottom line is you can’t expect to play defense 10 minutes into the second half,” Smith said. “It was a lack of awareness on defense. [Aimetti] knew exactly what she had to do, she knew how to take advantage.”

Added Taylor, “Courtney’s an excellent player, I give her props, but I still think it was a lack of defense. We could have stopped her if we played hard in the first half like we were suppose to do.”

CSI increased its lead to 24, 53-29, on six straight points by Aimetti, but York fought back and went on a 7-0 run capped by a Nicole Perry putback to get within 17. But then Pamela Barone, who finished with 24 points, including 13-for-16 from the free throw line, was fouled while taking a three-point shot and drained all three freethrows to go up 58-38 with 10:08 left.

The Lady Cardinals got as close as 15, 64-49, when Taylor scored on a rebound of Ineshia Roberts’ missed free throw with 4:41 left, but York just couldn’t get out of the hole it dug itself in the first half.

“It was a rough one,” said Taylor, who had 18 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. “We didn’t really pick up the defensive intensity until the second half and against Staten Island, you can’t play catch up basketball.”

Garrianne Brown led York with 20 points while Roberts added 14. Keisha Cook had 10 points and 16 boards for CSI, which outrebounded York 55-41.

York men fall to CSI: David Paul scored a game-high 20 points to lead four players in double-figure scoring, as Staten Island (15-8, 10-3) defeated York, 58-49, Saturday.

Stanley O’Neil had 13 points and Jason Daniel added 12 points for the Cardinals (13-11, 7-6), who take on ?? in the first round of the CUNY playoffs Sunday at City College. Tip-off is slated for ??.

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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