NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- They saved the best for last. After three other lopsided semi-final contests in Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference playoffs, the #2 seed College of New Rochelle Womens Basketball team and its opponent #3 seed Davis College, gave the large crowd something to remember. After two extra periods the Angels pulled out the thrilling 81-79 victory to advance to the finals tomorrow afternoon at 1:00pm against top-seed Albany Pharmacy College.
Senior Jasmine Brandon (Jersey CIty, NJ) turned in a stunning performance, scoring 45 points and snagging 17 boards to go along with six steals on the night. It was her 19th double-double, putting her in 2nd place in the nation in NCAA Division 3 standings.
The Angels (10-14 overall) managed only one lead in the entire first-half, 18-17, midway through the 2nd. For the remainder of the half, CNR struggled to find any offensive rythym. Fortunately, Davis wasn't much better, but still managed to hold a 28-24 halftime lead over CNR.
After Davis built a six point lead in the third, before sophomore Chelsea Thomas (Bronx, NY) made a pair of free throws to give CNR its first lead in the 2nd half, 37-36. A Thomas layup just before the end of the frame gave CNR a 45-40 lead, before a layup by Davis's Bethany Atwood made it 45-42 headed into the final frame.
The fourth quarter kept all the fans on the edge of their seat, as the game remained within two possesions throughout. CNR was up 58-54 with just under 2:00 to play when Davis Alainey Banks canned a three to make it 58-57 with 1:43 to play. Brandon would make 1-of-2 from the line with 17 ticks left to make it 59-57. Davis Jamie Brown had three shots in the final 12 seconds, and unfortunately for CNR, her third went in with five seconds left.
CNR had a final chance to win and appeared to do so when sophomore Caitlin Harrison (Bronx, NY) made a layup at the buzzer, but the officials called it.
The first overtime was tight trhoughtout. With 38 seconds left, Thomas hit a free throw to put CNR up 65-63. But with 13 seconds, Davis Cindy Griffith hit a pair of free throws to tie it. With eight seconds left, sophomore Hannah Cambel (Houston, TX) missed a three giving Davis a chance to win, but Brown missed her shot to send the game to 2OT.
The second OT was a repeat of the first, as neither team had more than a two point lead, but this time Davis had the lead late. With 1:56 left and trailing 73-71, Cambel hit a three from the top of the arc to give CNR a 74-73 lead. Later, Brown pushed Davis back in front 79-77, but Brandon hit a layup and was fouled with 11 seconds left. Her made free throw gave CNR an 80-79 lead.
Davis called timeout and advanced the ball, but on the inbounds was called for an offensive foul giving CNR two more foul shots. Thomas made one of two and was followed by a game-tying shot by Brown, but her shot was off and gave CNR the win.
Brown led Davis with 28 points, while Banks added 19 points and 12 boards. Lynnia Torres added 16. Cambel was the only other Angel in double figures with 12 points. But, all seven CNR players contributed to the point total.
CNR will play in its 2nd straight HVIAC title game. The Angels lost to Albany Pharmacy in the regular season 47-30.