Release Courtesy of CNR Athletics
NEW ROCHELLE, NY – One game after ending a 13-year losing streak to St. Joseph's College-Brooklyn and adding its first 1,000 point scorer since 1986, The College of New Rochelle added two more firsts on Saturday, defeating Albany Pharmacy for the first time ever and advancing to the program's first HVIAC Tournament Championship Game.
Since the two programs first met on January 8, 2009, a span of seven games, including last year's tournament semifinals, the Blue Angels had never defeated the Panthers, the defending USCAA National Champions. Earlier this year, CNR held the lead at the half in the regular season meeting between these two teams, a sign that the Panthers domination of the series was coming to a close.
Jah-Leah Ellis almost single-handedly put the Blue Angels in the tournament finals, scoring 20 points and pulling down a game-high 25 rebounds (her third 20+ rebounding game in her last four and 11th 15+ rebound game of the season). She added a game-high six assists as well. Jasmine Brandon did her part, pouring in a game-high 22 points in 11-15 shooting from the floor.
Alexa Schooley paced Albany Pharmacy with 15 points.
The teams traded baskets for much of the early going until CNR used a 13-1 run to take a 12 point lead, 21-9, following an Ellis layup with 9:35 left in the first half. The Panthers drew to within six before CNR used a 6-0 spurt to get the lead back to 12. The Blue Angels carried an eight point lead, 30-22, into the break.
Albany Pharmacy, who advanced to the conference finals each of the last four season, winning two, showed its championship pedigree in the second half, whittling away at the CBR lead before taking a two point lead, 50-48, with 4:04 remaining. However, the ending to the story was not to follow form, as the Blue Angels closed the game with a 15-3 run to end the streak and put themselves one step away from their first ever championship.