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Molloy women's basketball defeats Adelphi in NCAA East Region semifinal

Molloy teammates celebrate after defeating Adelphi in an

Molloy teammates celebrate after defeating Adelphi in an NCAA women's basketball playoff game on Saturday, March 11, 2017, at Center for Recreation and Sports in Garden City. Credit: Richard T. Slattery

As the buzzer sounded, Molloy’s Kamala Thompson put up the desperate shot from the paint.

Suddenly, the Molloy leads that had disappeared didn’t matter, the struggle through the final quarter didn’t matter. Thompson’s buzzer beater gave No. 5 Molloy a 59-58 win over No. 1 Adelphi Saturday night in the NCAA women’s basketball Division II East Region semifinal at Adelphi.

A game that had been decidedly in Molloy’s favor since the early minutes had taken a turn as Adelphi cut a lead that had ballooned to as much as nine to nothing.

Adelphi’s Calli Balfour hit a three-point shot with 4:10 left that tied it at 51, and then she hit another three from the corner that gave Adelphi a 54-51 lead.

The teams traded leads, then Adelphi went ahead 58-57 on Sierra Clark’s layup with 11 seconds remaining.

Then Thompson’s shot went in, causing a celebration. But officials had to confer as to whether the shot was launched in time. After their talk the head official blew his whistle and dropped his arm to signal the shot counted and the Lions were moving on.

Aliyah McDonald led Molloy with 14 points and nine rebounds. McKayla Hernandez had 12 points. Thompson had 10 points and 14 rebounds.

Clark had a game-high 24 points for Adelphi, while Simone Hobdy had 13 points.

Adelphi’s Niajah Morgan strung together five points midway through the second quarter that gave Adelphi a shot at a comeback. It included a layup with 6:55 left after she put up a shot that hit off the backboard, got her own rebound and stuck the putback.

Molly’s Maggie Salomone hit a three-point shot and Morgan followed with another basket. Clark drained a three to get Adelphi to within 24-22, but Molloy’s Hernandez followed with her three own to extend the lead. Molloy put together an 11-4 run to close out the half, including a buzzer-beating layup by Thompson.

The third quarter opened with a scoring lull as each side went just short of four minutes without a basket. Then Hobdy hit a fadeaway jumper to get Adelphi within seven. Later she retrieved a pass, cut to the basket and laid the ball in get the deficit to six. Symone Kelly answered with a layup, but Clark hit a three to make it five. Slowly, the top seed chipped away at the difference but came up short at the end.

Molloy faces the No. 2 Queens 7 p.m. tomorrow at Adelphi playing for a spot in the tournament’s quarterfinals.


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