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Lady Knights fall to struggling Purple Knights

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It was like a giant snowball rolling downhill or a wave continuing to swell. The Queens College women’s basketball team saw itself losing control of its New York Collegiate Athletic Conference game against Bridgeport Monday, but could do nothing to stop it.

The Lady Knights were virtually helpless as they turned the ball over time and time again in the final 10 minutes of the game. And with every turnover, Bridgeport’s confidence grew.

Unlike its impressive 66-65 win over Philadelphia University last week, Queens couldn’t turn the tide around, falling to lowly Bridgeport, 70-64, at Fitzgerald Gymnasium.

The loss was a bitter final home game for seniors Theresa Dollard, Melani Iseli and Cheryl Cosenzo, who were honored before the game with bouquets of flowers and balloons.

“I think what hurts more is that we’re playing for playoff positioning,” said Dollard, who had a team-high 19 points. “It was really important that we came in and win. It stinks that we lost our last home game, but we want our last game to be in the playoffs.”

“We didn’t defend at all,” added Queens College coach Jerry Ingenito. “They didn’t do the things I wanted them to do. I told them to switch out on the shooters, but there was no communication. We talk all the time about communication, but there was none tonight.”

Queens (10-15, 9-12) had a chance to take a double-digit halftime lead, which would have been a huge blow to the fragile psyche of a Bridgeport team that had just one win in its previous 23 games. But instead the Lady Knights saw their nine-point lead reduced to seven, 29-22, on Tanisha Hubbard's foul line jumper with 13 seconds left.

The lead was just two 1:30 into the second half on Fatima Carvey’s bucket from the right blocks. All of a sudden, Bridgeport believed they could play with Queens.

“We talked about coming out after halftime and setting the tone,” said first-year Bridgeport coach Greg Butler, a former New York Knicks fan favorite in the late 1980s. “This is the first time I think they finally heard the message. This is the first time we turned the corner and played with some intensity.”

Defensively, that intensity was in the form of a more compact 2-3 zone in the second half and a full-court trap that forced 16 second half turnovers.

“We just started throwing the ball around the gym,” said Iseli, who scored all nine of her points driving to the basket in the first half. “Bridgeport was very aggressive.”

Butler witnessed the Bizzaro Bridgeport in the second half. Usually it is the Purple Knights who turn the ball over down the stretch, blowing a second half lead.

But Talynzia Cook (game-high 28 points) and Hubbard (22 points and seven steals), who combined to score all five of their team’s three-pointers, made sure their lead held up as it was Bridgeport (2-22, 2-18) who forced a bevy of crunch-time turnovers.

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

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