ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. – The NYIT women's basketball team moved closer to securing an East Coast Conference playoff spot with a roaring comeback win on Wednesday at Molloy.
After trailing by as many as 13 points in the first quarter, the Lions ultimately forced overtime with a pair of game-tying free throws from freshman Kayla Correa with 4.2 seconds remaining in regulation. The Bears then took control in the extra period en route to a 74-68 victory and their fourth straight win.
NYIT improved to 15-9 overall and 9-7 in ECC play.
"It's a great win," coach Kenny Parham said. "It turned into a battle of attrition. Everyone was in foul trouble. Everyone was tired – the kids on their team cramping up, our kids a little injured. It was a great game. The kids played really, really hard and never quit."
Trailing 52-42, the Bears went on an 11-0 run spanning the final two quarters. Shanice Allen's jumper got the spurt started. Julie Williams followed with a three-pointer. And when reigning ECC co-Rookie of the Week Margaret Knollmeyer had a putback of Sofia Georgiadi's miss, the Bears were within three points. Correa then drained a three-pointer 15 seconds into the fourth quarter to even the score. And when Correa sank the second of two free throws with 9:11 remaining after getting fouled on a driving layup, NYIT had its first lead since a game-opening three-pointer from Williams.
It was a dramatic sequence of events late in the fourth quarter. With NYIT trailing 60-59, Correa produced a steal, but Williams' ensuing three-point attempt was off the mark. No matter. After Molloy's Aliyah McDonald sank the second of two free throws with 4.2 seconds remaining to open a two-point lead for the Lions, Correa was fouled without the clock having moved and sank both free throws to force the extra period.
"I was nervous," Correa said. "I just wanted to get my team the win. My coach trusted me and put me in. So I just did what he wanted me to do."
Said Parham: "She stepped up and made some big plays."
Williams finished with 20 points, followed by Allen with 15 points, Knollmeyer with 11 and Correa with 10.
Molloy dropped to 18-7 overall and 10-5 in ECC play.
NYIT has two regular-season games remaining – Senior Day on Saturday against Roberts Wesleyan, then a Feb. 25 game at Mercy.
"It's not easy to get a win in the conference," Parham said. "We're going to rest after today, try to get back in the gym and have a couple of practices and put a game plan together, and hopefully we can get a couple more. It's not going to be easy."