Garden City, N.Y. - The East Coast Conference Champion and fifth-seeded Molloy Lions defeated the fourth-seeded Caldwell Cougars, 60-52, Friday evening in the NCAA East Region Quarterfinals at Adelphi University. The win was the Lions second NCAA tournament victory in program history and first since the 2009-10 season.
Graduate student Kamala Thompson (Selden, N.Y.) led the team with a double-double, with 16 points and a game-high 20 rebounds. Graduate student Symone Kelly (Wyandanch, N.Y.) and senior Aliyah McDonald (Hempstead, N.Y.) netted 14 points each in the win. Kristen Drogsler (Middle Village, N.Y.) scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed 16 rebounds for Caldwell.
The Lions (23-8) opened the scoring on a jump shot from Thompson. After Caldwell tied the game at two, Kelly put the maroon and white ahead 4-2. The Cougars scored the next four points to go ahead 6-4. Senior Maggie Salomone (Narragansett, R.I.) hit back to back threes to give Molloy a 10-6 lead. Kelly added another basket, as the Lions took a 12-9 advantage at the end of the first stanza.
Caldwell (25-6) tied the game, 12-12, on its first possession of the second quarter, Drogsler made a three-pointer. The Lions scored the next three points, a jumper from senior Shantana Kanhoye (South Richmond Hill, N.Y.) and a free-throw from Thompson, to take a 15-12 edge. With the score 15-14, Thompson scored five straight points, and Kelly added a jumper to put the Lions ahead 22-14 at the half.
The Cougars opened the second half on a 9-2 run, led by four points from Kristen Siscamanis (Winthrop, Mass.), to cut the Lions lead to 24-23. Later in the quarter, Drogsler hit a jumper to put the Cougars ahead 26-25. Kelly tied the game, 26-26, on Molloy's next possession. Thompson put the Lions back ahead, 29-26, on a three-point play. After Caldwell tied the game at 29, Kelly converted a three-point play to make it 32-29. Sophomore Ihnacinse Grady (Amityville, N.Y.) and McDonald hit back to back jump shots to make it 36-31. McDonald, who scored eight points in the third frame, scored the Lions' final four points of the quarter to put them up 40-35 at the end of three.
With the score 42-37, McDonald gave the Lions a nine-point lead, 46-37, which was their largest lead of the game. The Cougars scored six straight points to cut the lead to 46-43. Like it did all game, Molloy answered right back. The maroon and white scored the next five points, a layup by McDonald and a three-pointer from Thompson, to increase its lead to 51-43. Caldwell cut the Molloy lead to 54-49 with 1:01 left, but the Lions put the game away at the line on their way to a 60-52 victory.
The Lions play the top-seeded Adelphi Panthers in the NCAA East Regional semifinals tomorrow (Mar.11) at 7:30 p.m.
Provided by the Molloy Sports Information Department.