Mount Saint Mary - 58, Farmingdale State - 43
Story by MSMC's Justin Satkowski
Newburgh, N.Y. – Mount Saint Mary College scored 20 consecutive points late in the second half while shutting down Farmingdale for nearly ten minutes on their way to a 58-43 victory in Saturday's Skyline Conference championship game in the Kaplan Center. The Knights claimed their second straight title and the 12th in the last 13 years.
Farmingdale led for the opening ten minutes of the second half, and when junior Nikita Green (Roosevelt, N.Y.) hit a jumper with 10:15 remaining, the Rams led 41-35. Mount junior Charneice McCullough (Wyandanch, N.Y.) answered with a three from the corner to cut it back to three. A minute later, senior Amanda Horvers (Kingston, N.Y.) drained a long triple from the right wing to tie the game at 41-41.
From there, the Knights took over. McCullough gave her team the lead with a layup on the fast break and then Hartnett followed with a tough bucket in the paint to make it 45-41. A drought of nearly two minutes ensued and it would be the Mount's junior forward Kelly Dempsey (Hicksville, N.Y.) who finally broke through with a bucket in the lane at 3:44, making it 47-41, Knights.
The Mount Saint Mary defense came up with stop after stop and the offense continued to stretch the lead, pushing it to 14 as McCullough sunk a pair of free throws with 46 seconds to play. Farmingdale senior Dominique Cunningham (Amityville, N.Y.) finally came through with a basket for the Rams with 40 seconds to play, but by then, the damage had long been done. The Rams didn't score for a full nine minutes and thirty-five seconds, allowing the Knights to take control and put the game away with a 20-0 run.
The Knights were helped immensely by an inspiring performance from junior Kate Hartnett (Floral Park, N.Y.). Initially ruled out of the contest, Hartnett was in street clothes throughout warm-ups and for the opening tip. With her team struggling, however, Hartnett dressed during the first half and entered the game with 14:29 to go in the second half. She finished with six points and a pair of rebounds, but her energy at the defensive end of the floor really turned the tide for the Mount.
Dempsey was also a key player for the Knights. The junior blocked a pair of shots, grabbed two rebounds, and scored three points during just eight minutes of playing time.
Horvers led the way for the Mount, scoring 16 points on 5-of-10 from the field. She also added five rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and two steals on her way to being named the Skyline Tournament's Most Valuable Player. McCullough scored 11 points and tallied five assists, while sophomore Rachel Perrone (Poughquag, N.Y.) completed another double-double with 10 points and 10 boards. Senior Jen Mocanu (Belford, N.J.) finished with eight points.
For the Rams, junior Jeannette Zubizaretta (Bay Shore, N.Y.) hit four three-pointers for a team-high 12 points. Junior Baytania Newman (Brooklyn, N.Y.) scored 11 points and had five assists, but also committed nine turnovers. Senior Kayla Koch (Kings Park, N.Y.) added 10 points, while Cunningham finished with six points. Cunningham did an excellent job of defending the Mount's Mocanu, limiting her to just the eight points.
Mount Saint Mary will make its 13th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division III National Tournament. The field will be announced on Monday at 2:30 p.m.