BROOKLYN, NY – For the fourth time this season the St. Joseph's College women's basketball team squared off with a USCAA top 10 opponent. In January it was the Apprentice School, last night it was Briarcliffe who brought their high scoring offense to Brooklyn Technical High School. In the end, the Lady Bears couldn't keep up with the Seahawks and dropped their second straight, 103-88.
The two teams got off to a sluggish start, each unable to find the bottom of the net. The Lady Bears didn't hit their first field goal until Ashley McQuillan (Brooklyn, NY/St. Francis Prep) nailed a jumper at the 15:49 mark. She'd hit nine more during the game, en route to a career-high 38 points.
Both teams hit their stride from that point, battling to a 19-19 tie midway through the first. That's when Briarcliffe, led by Jessica Little, took over. Over the next five minutes the Seahawks connected on 6-of-8 three point attempts, including four by Little, to open up a 23 point advantage. St. Joseph's did little to counter the 26-3 run and went into the half trailing 56-34.
The Lady Bears opened the second stanza like they did the first, hitting just two of their first eight shots. The Seahawks kept the 20-point lead over the first five minutes of the half before an unlikely source gave St. Joseph's a needed boost.
Briarcliffe's head coach, Jay Lynch, received two technical fouls in a span of 2:09 and gave some energy to the Lady Bears. After Lynch's ejection, St. Joseph's went on a 23-11 run, highlighted by 13 points from McQuillan. At the 10:11 mark, two Tara Gleason (Woodside, NY/Stella Maris) free throws cut the Seahawk lead down to 10, 78-68.
Briarcliffe didn't panic, and in the blink of an eye brought the lead back up to 23, breaking the Lady Bears' spirit. Simone Thomas had six of her 22 points during that stretch, including a three from very deep.
St. Joseph's (9-14, 3-1 HVWAC) did their best to try to get back into the game, scoring 20 points in the final five minutes, but the number two offense in the USCAA had no problems putting the Lady Bears away.
The Lady Bears made the most of their opportunities benefitting from a 50-21 discrepacy in free-throw attempts, hitting 34 free throws, the most in one game in the past six years. McQuillan sunk a career-best 14 from the charity stripe, also the most by a Lady Bear in the past six years.
In addition to her 38 points, McQuillan also grabbed a career-high tying seven rebounds.
The 103 points allowed are the most in school history and only the second time an opponent has broken the 100 point barrier, the other time occurring against Point Loma Nazarene in 2002.
Freshman Megan Moran (Syosset, NY/St. Dominic's) continued her rookie success, finishing with her second double-double of the season. She matched a career-best with 15 points while also securing ten boards. Sophomore Janine Doran (South Ozone Park, NY/Archbishop Molloy) was the only other Lady Bear in double figures, scoring 12 points.
Briarcliffe (13-5) had four girls with 10+ points and three with 20+ as they scored over 100 for the first time this season. Ifeanyi Ofili and Shenita Urquhart each had a team-high 24 points in addition to Thomas' 22. Little was the fourth Seahawk in double figures, scoring all 14 of her points during that 26-3 stretch in the first half.
St. Joseph's has just two regular season games remaining, both at home. Next up is Lancaster Bible on Saturday, February 12th. The day will feature a double-header with the women tipping off first at 5:00 and the men following at 7:30. Both teams will also sport special pink warmups as part of SAAC's "Bearing a Cure" Breast Cancer fundaiser. The men's team will also celebrate senior night along with the dance and step teams.