The Berkeley College (NY) women’s basketball team’s push for a return trip to the USCAA National Basketball Tournament Championship Game was cut short, as the No. 4 seeded Knights fell to the No. 1 seeded Mustangs of Central Maine C.C. by a score of 56-48 Friday evening at the Main Arena in Uniontown, PA.
A slow start doomed the Knights in their loss to the Mustangs, as Berkeley missed its first nine shots from the floor and fell behind 9-0 just 4:46 into the game. Knights junior forward Patricia Patterson got her team on the board when she nailed a three-point basket to pull Berkeley to within six points at 9-3.
Unfortunately for the Knights, Patterson’s three-point basket would account for one of only seven shots Berkeley would sink in the game’s first 20 minutes, as the Mustangs held the Knights to 18.4 percent shooting in the opening stanza (7-38) and took a 32-22 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The early stages of the second half saw Central Maine C.C. expand its lead, as the Mustangs increased their edge to 19 points – 43-24 – with 15:58 remaining in the game. Just as it appeared the Knights were going to go quietly, they began their run.
Junior forward Milan Germany converted on a layup with 15:00 remaining, and the All-American standout later drilled two free throws to bring her team to within 15 points at 43-28 with 14:32 left on the clock. The Knights spent the ensuing 6:26 of the game chipping away, as Berkeley eventually would slice the Mustangs’ lead to seven at 47-40 with just over eight minutes remaining.
Central Maine C.C. sophomore guard Susie French would connect on a three-point basket with a little under seven minutes remaining to put the Mustangs back up by double figures – 50-40. The Knights - despite keeping the game close and giving themselves a chance – were only able to convert on two fields in the closing eight minutes of game – and never got closer than seven points down – as the Mustangs held on for an eight point victory.
Despite the loss for Berkeley College, it was Germany pacing the Knights with a team-high 20 points, and game-highs in rebounds with 16 and blocks with three. Patterson added seven points, 12 rebounds, and three steals, as well.
In the victory for the Mustangs, Central Maine C.C. was paced by the hot shooting of French, as she nailed nine of her 20 attempts from the floor en route to finishing with a game-high of 22 points. She also snatched nine rebounds, dished five assists, and collected three steals. Sophomore forward Laura Soohey added 12 points and a team-high 12 rebounds, as well.
Neither team shot well from the floor, as the Mustangs hit on just 30.8 percent of their attempts (20-65), while the Knights were only able to nail 15 of their 74 shots (20.3 percent). The Mustangs held a slight edge in the rebounding department, grabbing 57 caroms to Berkeley’s 54, and Central Maine C.C. dished 14 assists to the Knights’ seven. Berkeley scored 25 points off of 26 Mustang turnovers, while Central Maine C.C. netted 21 points off of 21 Knights mistakes.
With the loss, Berkeley’s season finalized at 14-7. Central Maine Community College – who improved to a mark of 28-2 with Friday’s triumph – lost the title game to Cincinnati-Clermont on Saturday evening, 69-51.