Molloy’s NCAA Tournament run came to an end Monday night.
The No. 5 Lions fell to No. 2 Queens College, 70-60, in the Eastern Regionals of the NCAA Division II women’s basketball tournament at Adelphi. Molloy advanced into the game after a buzzer-beating win over top-seeded Adelphi on Saturday, but not could pull off another upset over their East Coast Conference rivals.
“Our kids did not quit,” coach Joe Pellicane said. “Our kids played like champions and play with the heart of a champion and set the bar for future Molloy athletes.”
Molloy (24-9), which beat Adelphi on a buzzer-beater in the regional semifinals, saw its bid for another second-half comeback fall short. Thanks to efficient shooting and a big rebounding edge, Queens (27-4) took a 52-41 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Lions offense got off to a hot start in the fourth quarter, and Kamala Thompson’s three-pointer with 4:08 left cut the Queens’ lead to 61-54. After a Queens bucket at the 3:53 mark, Shantana Kanhoye made a jumper for Molloy with 1:54 left to make it 63-56. Queens turned the ball over on its ensuing possession, and Kelly Symone made a pair of free throws to cut Molloys’ deficit to 63-58.
That was the closest things would get, as Queens converted on its next two trips to take a 67-60 lead and kept Molloy off the board for the remainder of the game.
Molloy shot 36.7 percent in the fourth quarter but Queens shot 42.9 percent at the other end in the period. For the game, Queens outshot the Lions, 40.9 percent to 36.7 percent.
Aliyah McDonald led Molloy with 23 points and Kelly had 14. Madison Rowland scored 24 for Queens, which advances to the national quarterfinals.
Queens dominated on the glass from the start and took a 30-20 lead into halftime after out-rebounding the Lions 27-14 in the first half. The Knights finished the game with a 50-30 rebounding edge.
Molloy scored the opening two baskets of the second half to cut its deficit to six, and though its offense got in rhythm in the third quarter, it would not get closer than that until there were less than two minutes remaining the game. The Lions shot 47.1 percent in the third quarter after being held to 28 percent in the first half, but Queens matched them by also making 47.1 percent of its shots.
What did Pellicane have to say about his squad as its season came to a close? “I told them, ‘not only did you fight, you are champions.’ ”