By Michael Otero
On Wednesday, Feb. 11, the women’s basketball team (14-9) defeated the Mavericks from Mercy College (8-15) to win their third-straight East Coast Conference game. Their 72-59-victory was powered by the reigning ECC Player of the Week, senior guard Chelsea Williams, who poured in a game-high of 23 points in front of the Pratt Recreation Center faithful.
The Mavericks got the scoring started on the afternoon, but after that it was all Pioneers, as the Green and Gold went on a 20-2 run in the game’s first seven minutes, dominating in all facets. They kept their lead for the rest of the half and extended their cushion to 23 points via a lay-up from junior guard Quanisha Ratley. The Pioneers headed to halftime, up 41-26 on the scoreboard.
In the second half, the Pioneers didn’t let their foot off the gas, as they maintained a double-digit lead throughout the latter stanza. The Pioneers dominance was due in part to their tireless work on the boards. They out-rebounded the Mavericks by ten and were led by junior center Nyasia Davis who grabbed 14 boards. To go along with her 23 points, Williams dished out eight assists, grabbed four rebounds and blocked five shots. Senior guard Ashley Castle added 11 points to help out the cause.
The Pioneers returned to action on Saturday, Feb. 14, when they traveled to Sparkhill, N.Y., to face off against the Spartans from St. Thomas Aquinas College (11-14). The visiting Pioneers got behind the eight ball early and couldn’t recover, losing by a score of 77-69.
Following the opening tip, LIU started the game off very sloppy, missing three field goals and committing four turnovers. Trailing 6-5 early, the Spartans made a statement on their home court with a huge 17-0 run that set the tone for the rest of the game. The Pioneers committed four more turnovers during that span and the hosts held a 45-28 edge at halftime.
The second half was more of the same for the Pioneers, as they were never able to chip away at the lead and gain momentum. A few 5-0 spurts were answered with buckets by the Spartans, which eventually put the game out of reach.
For the game, red-shirt senior forward Jessica Little had a team-high of 15 points while Williams scored 13 on her own. Davis added 11 points and eight boards while Ratley chipped in with ten points. As a team, the Pioneers never really got going offensively, explaining their low field goal percentage of just 34.
As for the Spartans, sophomore guard Samantha Burden had a game-high of 18 points and grabbed six rebounds while freshman guard Jenna Erickson poured in 17 points. The Spartans felt it from long range, as they shot an even 50 percent from deep and also shot close to the same percentage from the field.
Head Coach Deirdre Moore and the Pioneers will try to rebound from their loss as they take the court today against the Molloy College Lions. Tip-off from Rockville Centre, N.Y., is scheduled for 5 p.m.