Discipline helps you finish a job, and finishing is what separates excellent work from average work.
- Pat Summitt, late head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers
FLUSHING, NY – Hard-fought the entire way, the Queens College women's basketball team emerged triumphant from Saturday's conference matchup with NYIT, winning 62-54 to push their season-long win streak to eight in the first part of the Knights' "Play 4 Pat" commemorative doubleheader.
Senior Madison Rowland scored a game-high 23 points, 14 of which came in the game's final period when the Knights outscored the Bears by ten to overcome what had been a two-point deficit three quarters in. Madison snared a game-high 15 rebounds and blocked seven shots to assert her influence on all aspects of the game. MacKenzie Rowland and Beth Bonin both fought through subpar shooting performances to provide support on the offensive end, scoring 12 points and 10, respectively. MacKenzie added 13 rebounds for her league-leading thirteenth double-double.
In a performance appropriate for the doubleheader's theme and for the woman they were celebrating, the Knights relied on their gritty work ethic and determined effort to achieve the victory and honor the life and impact of Hall of Fame basketball coach, Pat Summitt, who passed away in 2016. Summitt recorded an incredible 1,098 wins while coaching at the University of Tennessee to become women basketball's all-time leader, before retiring in 2011 and battling through the final years of her life with Alzheimer's disease. Summitt accomplished her record total through instilling principles of hard work, teamwork, defense, and personal accountability, all of which Queens displayed during their comeback victory.
After building a six-point advantage by the end of the opening period, the Knights' shooting percentage dipped to 31 percent with their 10-of-34 stretch that spanned the second and third quarters. Combined on the other end with their inability to thwart NYIT's freshman Margaret Knollmeyer who scored 17 points in the game, 11 coming in the middle two periods, and their trouble covering the Bears' penetration, and the Knights were facing an uphill battle down four with just over nine minutes remaining in the game.
Madison's individual drive in the final period turned the Knights' outlook around and wound up influencing the entire team down the stretch. Time and time again the senior pushed the ball ahead after securing a defensive rebound and attempted to make something happen in transition. Facing that four-point deficit in the beginning of the fourth, she made the push again to find Bonin up ahead and received it back for a trailing short jumper. Two possessions later, she curled out from the right post to knock down a three-pointer to bring the Knights within one, 46-47, and spark a 10-0 run stretching to the 5:11 mark with Queens then leading 53-47. Fighting down the stretch with the lead, Queens College maintained their advantage thanks to effort plays like Bonin scrambling on the floor to rescue a loose ball and getting it ahead to Madison for a lay-up to make it 59-54 with 1:30 remaining. Others came from anticipating the Bears' plans and picking out three steals in the game's final minute. The Knights forced seven turnovers in all during the final quarter and held NYIT to 27 percent shooting to seal the comeback and in the words of Pat Summitt, to finish the job.
Queens improved their record to 9-1 in East Coast Conference games and are now 16-3 on the year. NYIT, who were led by Knollmeyer's 17 points and nine rebounds, fell to 4-6 in ECC-play and 10-8 overall following the loss.
The Knights will push for nine in a row on Wednesday, January 25, when they travel on the road to take on Mercy in another conference matchup. Game time at Westchester Community College is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
**Queens College also used the day's doubleheader to raise awareness for Alzheimer's disease, the leading form of dementia and memory loss, and the cause for Summitt's deteriorating health during her final years. They welcomed the CARE NYC Sunnyside Community Service Chapter to the afternoon's games to help spread knowledge and best practices for dealing with the debilitating disease. For more information on CARE NYC, and the disease more generally, please click here.