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Pioneers pound out 50-37 victory over QC women

Queens College women’s basketball coach Jerry Ingenito raved in the preseason about his three incoming freshman. All three, point guard Natasha Lyons, shooting guard Janine Cappadona and power forward Shonda Holder, were in the starting lineup for much of the season.

But as the Lady Knights were set to tip-off at C.W. Post Saturday, none were on the floor.

Lyons was on the bench in street clothes, awaiting one grade that would make her academically eligible, Cappadona transferred to Ramapo College last month and Holder was in uniform but also on the bench, punished for arriving to Conolly Gym late for the New York Collegiate Athletic Conference tilt.

As a result, Ingenito didn’t even peek at the post-game statistics, nor was he upset at the final score, a 50-37 Pioneers win. He could only rave about the effort his club gave, especially that of sisters Theresa and Erin Dollard, the only regular starters on the court at the start of the game.

“We worked hard. You have to respect those kids,” Ingenito said. “We knew what we were getting into. We tried and played, and we had a chance to win. Their character is impeccable.”

The Dollard sisters best exemplified that grit and effort against the Pioneers. Despite playing with a heavily taped right hand to protect an injured thumb and pinky finger, 6-foot sophomore Erin Dollard was forced to move from her natural small forward position to play point guard.

At times Erin Dollard was on the verge of tears, the pain was so severe. But she fought through it to play all but one minute. She had eight points, five assists, five rebounds, four steals and five turnovers.

“She’s in a position where she has double pressure on her as a point guard and she handles it well,” Theresa Dollard said of her sister. “I’d put her in that position more than anyone else I’d ever played with because she handles it so well.”

Theresa Dollard, a 6-foot senior forward, also played all but one minute and was the Lady Knights’ main offensive threat in the final five minutes of the game. She netted a team-high 19 points and grabbed four rebounds and was 8-of-14 from the free throw line.

“We asked her to play every minute, to guard out of position, handle the ball a bit and to get a touch every possession we have,” Ingenito said of Theresa Dollard. “She’s getting banged up and it takes its toll.”

To C.W. Post’s credit, the Pioneers knew Queens was shorthanded and took advantage. They heavily pressured Erin Dollard, forcing her into some bad decisions and offensively tried to push the ball up the floor for easy baskets.

C.W. Post (10-8, 10-6) also dominated the glass, outrebounding Queens 50-32, including 18-6 on the offensive boards. When the Pioneers got offensive rebounds, they wisely pushed the ball back out instead of rushing and forcing up a bad shot.

“We corrected the mistakes we made in our last game [a 61-59 loss to Southampton]. In that game we gave up too many offensive rebounds and rushes the ones we got,” said C.W. Post coach Patrice Walker. “We worked on that in practice and it paid off. The kids were thinking more out there today.”

Rama Doucoure led C.W. Post with 19 points and five rebounds. Danielle Heffel had six points and a game-high 14 rebounds and Cherelle Payne added six points and 10 boards.

After hosting undefeated Adelphi Tuesday, Queens (7-11, 7-8) is home for Dowling Thursday and Philadelphia University Saturday. Tip-off for each game is 5 p.m.

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

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