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Kamala Thompson leads Molloy to NCAA Div. II regional semifinal

Kamala Thompson, right, of Molloy battles for the ball

Kamala Thompson, right, of Molloy battles for the ball against Sharell Sanders of Caldwell during a East Regional women's basketball game on Friday, March 10, 2017, in Garden City. Credit: Anna Sergeeva

Regardless of where she launched her shot Friday night, Kamala Thompson was having trouble connecting. Layups, putbacks, three-point jumpers — more often than not, they did not fall.

But Thompson, a 5-9 guard for the Molloy women’s basketball team, knew she could impact the game in other ways.

“My shots weren’t dropping,” she said. “My layups, I was missing a lot of easy baskets, so I knew I had to compensate for that on the defensive end.”

She grabbed a game-high 20 rebounds, including six on the offensive glass. As a byproduct of her hard work, she was able to attempt 20 field goals. She converted just six, but she scored a team-high 16 points.

With her leading the way, No. 5 Molloy defeated No. 4 Caldwell, 60-52, in a NCAA Division II East Region quarterfinal at Adelphi. The win improved the Lions’ record to a program-best 23-8 and earned them a date with No. 1 Adelphi Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

This is the program’s third NCAA Tournament and first since 2010.

“I feel like we just have a lot of momentum coming into the game off the [ECC tournament] championship,” said Aliyah McDonald, who scored all 14 of her points in the second half. “We have confidence in ourselves and our teammates and our coaches and everybody, even our fans.”

McDonald played just three minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. After Molloy’s 46-37 lead shrunk to 46-43, she grabbed a rebound, saw open floor and went coast-to-coast for a layup with 4:07 remaining. That ignited a 12-6 run, which spanned 3:31 and put Molloy in control.

“That’s my role on the team, it’s to attack,” McDonald said. “My teammates want me to attack. I had a slow first half, so I had to get it going and help my teammates out a little bit.”

For Molloy, Saturday night is an opportunity for revenge. The Lions visited Adelphi on Nov. 30 and left with a 66-61 loss. Since then, the they have gone 17-6.

“We’re a team that once a team beats us we look for revenge,” Thompson said. “We’re still adjusting to their rims, so we know we want to go out there and attack. We have a lot of enthusiasm going into the game, but we really want to get going early on.”


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