Staten Island, N.Y. (3/8/14) – Rookie Essence Casey led four players in double figures as the Kean University Women's Basketball team defeated Hunter College, 69-49, advancing to the ECAC Metro Championship game on Sunday.
The opening minutes of the first stanza were a see-saw battle, with both teams connecting on a series of impressive shots. Shay Collins rolled off two straight baskets for Cougars (17-12), followed by six straight points from Jazmine Davis, giving the Cougars a 14-10 advantage. The Cougars were able to keep the Hawks (16-14) off the board for the next six minutes, pushing the lead to double digits. Only three players connected on baskets for the Hawks in the first half, led by Kristen Markoe with four shots from behind the arc and Nicole Lenard on three buckets inside the paint. Collins and Simone Smith finished with seven in the first half, while Davis ended with eight points in the opening period.
The Cougars controlled the second half, keeping the Hawks from registering a basket for more than seven minutes during the middle stretch. After scoring two points in the first half, Casey exploded for 15 in the second half. Smith was able to connect on all four free throw attempts with AnnaRose Pierre chipping in six points. Markoe and Lenard were able to keep Hunter in the game for a majority of the second half, but the Cougars connected on several free throw attempts down the stretch to prevent a Hawks comeback.
Casey finished with 17 points, while Davis (pictured left) finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds and four steals. Smith finished with a double-double of her own, with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Markoe tallied 25 points, while Lenard had 16 points in the losing effort.
The Cougars advance to the championship game, which will be played on Sunday, March 9th at 7:30 p.m. at the College of Staten Island versus a team yet to be determined.