Late Rally Falls Short as Merchant Marine Halts Women’s Basketball’s Three-Game Win Streak

Late Rally Falls Short as Merchant Marine Halts Women’s Basketball’s Three-Game Win Streak

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) women's basketball team put their three-game win streak on the line Thursday night hosting the United States Merchant Marine Academy. The Mariners pulled away to as much as a 17-point lead in the third quarter, but SJC mounted a valiant comeback, pulling to within one with under a minute to go, yet fell in their second Skyline matchup 61-59.

The Basics

  • Final Score: Merchant Marine 61, St. Joseph's 59
  • Records: Merchant Marine (2-1, 2-0), St. Joseph's (3-3, 1-1)
  • Location: Brooklyn, N.Y. — The Hill Center
  • SJC Starters: O'Neill (G), Porcasi (G), O'Donnell (G), Drago (F), Staab (C)

Turning Point

  • Junior Kellie O'Neill (Brooklyn, N.Y./St. Edmund Prep) nailed a three-pointer with just under a minute remaining in the game to bring the Bears within one (58-57).

How It Happened

  • St. Joseph's started strong, leading 9-3 three minutes into the first after a layup from O'Neill. The Mariners pushed back, however, and finished the period leading 16-15 behind seven points from senior Tichina Carmon.
  • In the second, the visitors controlled affairs with their lockdown defense holding the Bears to an 18.2% shooting mark in the frame. The hosts mustered just nine points in the quarter (five from freshman Samantha Wilber) and entered the break trailing 35-24.
  • The third quarter was evenly matched, as junior Caitlyn Staab (Lynnbrook, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) controlled the boards for the Bears with six caroms. St. Joseph's defense improved in the period with a minus-two point differential and they entered the fourth down 49-36.
  • SJC began the final quarter on fire, cutting the lead to seven behind a 9-3 run with some sophomore heroics on back-to-back buckets from Nina DiCioccio (Brooklyn, N.Y./St. Edmund Prep) and a trey from Gina Hopkins (Astoria, N.Y./Mnsgr. McClancy).
  • The Mariners pushed the lead back to 11 leading 56-45 at the 4:10 mark, but the resilient Bears continued to fight and eventually brought the lead to 4 with 2:00 to go on another finish by DiCioccio.
    O'Neill's deep ball brought them all the way back (58-57), but a missed three on their final possession ended in the Bears' first league loss of 2017-18.

For the Bears

  • Rookie Kelly O'Donnell (Brooklyn, N.Y./St. Edmund Prep) played her way to her second career double-double on a team-high 14 points and 10 rebounds, as well as two steals.
  • Victoria Porcasi (Franklin Square, N.Y./H. Frank Carey) was second in scoring with 11 points and fed four helpers while grabbing three rebounds.
  • Staab hit the glass throughout the contest en route to a career-high 15 boards while pitching in seven points.

Inside the Box Score

  • DiCioccio paced a Bears' bench with eight points and four rebounds, as the SJC reserves outscored Merchant Marine's second-unit 18-4.
  • The Bears provided quality perimeter defense holding USMMA to a dismal 17.2% clip from three.

The Bear Facts

  • St. Joseph's struggled mightily versus the Mariners last year, as they lost by 13+ twice, while the Bears reduced a 17-point deficit to finish with their closest all-time loss to USMMA.

Next Up for the Bears

  • Another home matchup with the number one team in the Skyline preseason coaches' poll, the College at Old Westbury on Saturday (Dec. 2) at 2 p.m. Live stats and video at