The College of New Rochelle earned its first Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Championship Sunday, as the third-seeded Blue Angels defeated the fourth-seeded St. Joseph's College-Brooklyn, 62-47, at the Wellness Center on the CNR campus.
After having not defeated the Lady Bears since January of 2000, CNR defeated their conference rival for the second time in four days. In the process of taking home the conference title, the Blue Angels defeated Albany Pharmacy for the first time in program history in the semifinals, and earned the program's first HVIAC title one day later.
Jah-Leah Ellis was named tournament Most Valuable Player, as she averaged 16 points and 17.5 rebounds per game. In the championship game, she tallied her 19th double-double of the season, scoring 12 points while pulling down 10 caroms. Jasmine Brandon added a double-double of her own, adding 14 points to her game-high 14 rebounds. Alyssa Pechin, who became just the fifth Blue Angel to reach the 1,000 point plateau in the earlier win over St. Joseph's, poured in a game-high 15. Holly Cammarota, the lone senior in the starting lineup, added 14 points and three assists.
Megan Moran and Taylor Raccuglia each scored 10 points to pace the Lady Bears.
With the win, the Blue Angels run their record to 16-9. The 16 wins is the third highest total for a CNR basketball team since the 1984-85 national runners up, and marked the first time since the 1998-99 season that the team was defeated less than 10 times.
The Lady Bears cracked the scoreboard first, taking a 2-0 lead less than a minute into the game. However, that lead was the only lead for St. Joe's, as the Blue Angels ran off eight straight points to take an 8-2 lead with 15:30 left in the first half. The Lady Bears pulled to within one, 9-8, but CNR responded with an 11-0 run to take its largest lead of the first half, 20-8, 7:01 before the break. A traditional three point play from Pechin allowed the Blue Angels to take a 25-17 lead into the locker room.
In the second 20 minutes, the Lady Bears slowly whittled away at the Blue Angel lead, keeping within striking distance and drawing as close as a single point, 42-41, with 4:49 remaining. Showing championship form and a will that was not to be denied, CNR scored five straight points to push the lead back to six, and closed the game out with a 20-6 run to post the resounding and indisputable victory.
The Blue Angels dominated down low, posting a 36-22 advantage in points in the paint and turned 23 St. Joe's turnovers into 23 points.
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