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Lady Knights defeat defending Champ Monroe 75-73 in OT thriller!
The No. 13 ranked (NJCAA DII poll) CCRI Lady Knights basketball team hosted the No. 15 rankled defending national champion Monroe College Mustangs form New Rochelle, NY in their final game of the CCRI basketball Invitational. The Lady Knights defeated the Mustangs 75-73 in overtime. With the victory the Lady Knights improve to 16-2 on the season their best start in program history!
In a game that has been marked on both team’s calendars since they last played March 4th of 2012, in that game CCRI defeated Monroe 65-60 before Monroe went to win National Championship. Both teams were prepared for a fierce battle. Monroe struck the first blow as they jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead. However, the Lady Knights showed tremendous resilience to come back and take 1 10-8 lead at the 12:30 mark of the first half. The Lady Knights went on to take a 20-15 lead by the 8:45 mark of the first half. However, the battle-tested Mustangs were up to the task as they closed the gap to one point going into the break trailing 31-30.
In the second half, once again, Monroe came out firing and took a 51-43 lead with 12:17 left in the game. The Lady Knights closed the gap to three points 51-48 after a Lexi Barros (New Bedford, MA) 3-point play with 11 minutes left. As the game clock winded down it was clear that this game was going to be an instant classic. With a 64-62 lead Monroe had the ball and was on a fast-break attempting to extend the lead but Ahnyyah Jackson (Hackensack, NJ) made an excellent defensive play as she took a charge from an oncoming Jasmine McRoy to give the Lady Knights that ball back with a chance to tie the game. With 1:22 showing on the clock Barros used her creativity to dribble-drive past her defender and release a “tear drop” shot over the Monroe frontcourt defenders to tie the game 64-64. Both teams had chances to close out the game and the final opportunity for CCRI came with 30.3 remaining on the game clock and 30 on the shot. They drew up a play for Co-Captain Jahira Smith (Brooklyn, NY) who went one-on-one with one of the larger Mustang defenders and was able to get a turnaround jumper off with three seconds left that rattled in and out before Monroe secured the rebound and timeout with 1.1 remaining their final second heave was no good and the game went to overtime tied at 64-64.
As overtime began Monroe once again delivered another body blow as they scored the first six points to take a 70-64 lead with 3:09 remaining. It was gut-check time for the Lady Knights and they answered as only they could. Ahnyyah Jackson and Lexi Barros both went 2-2 from the free throw line to cut the lead to two points 70-68 with 2:43 left. Jenna Ayala (Paterson, NJ) sank a baseline jumper with 2:00 left to tie the game 70-70. Jackson would make two more free-throws to give CCRI a 72-70 lead with 1:22 left. Barros also scored to give CCRI a 74-70 lead with less than a minute left in OT. Monroe guard Jasmine McRoy sank a tough contested 3-pointer with 3.7 second left to cut the Lady Knights lead to one points 75-74. The Lady Knights were able to get the ball in-bounds after the tough 3-pointer to Barros who was subsequently fouled with a second left and made one of two free throws to give the Lady Knights a 75-73 lead Monroe’s “Hail Mary” attempt at the buzzer was not good as the Lady Knights would win the battle 75-73.
Leading the way for the Lady Knights was Lexi Barros with 22 points and four steals and Ahnyyah Jackson scored 18 points including an impressive 9-9 form the free-throw line, many of those coming during crunch time, with three 3-popinters and five rebounds. Also helping CCRI was Captain Jahira Smith (Brooklyn, NY) with 14 points, four rebounds, three assist and two steals. The two steals for smith give her 201 steals for her career! She is the only Lady Knight to ever get 200 steals. Also helping the Lady Knights was Nyjah Porcher (New Britain CT) with eight points while ripping down a game-high 18 rebounds, including 14 defensive rebounds, Moe Plummer (Fairfield, CT) added seven points including a big second half 3-pointer, and Jenna Ayala added four points including the game-tying shot in overtime and added nine rebounds, eight defensively.
Head Coach Kate Lynch commented after the big victory: "This team has been through a lot of adversity especially over the last few weeks. What they have shown us is truly remarkable. They have such heart, passion, and a great work ethic. Through it all, they've kept their heads held high and have kept-on plugging away. They are a gifted group of young ladies. They have a goal in mind and will do anything and everything to reach it."
The Next game for the Lady Knights will be this Saturday the 19th when they will host the Colts of Orange County Community College from Middletown, NY at 1:00pm.
The Community College of Rhode Island, New England’s largest comprehensive community college, enrolls nearly 18,000 students in credit courses and thousands more in non-credit and job training classes. Its athletic program boasts 12 varsity programs and an academic support program for all student-athletes.