Concordia Women's Basketball Solves Felician Defense

Kayla Diaz had 18 points and nine assists in a Feb. 23, 2019, home loss to Concordia. (Steven R. Smith)
Kayla Diaz had 18 points and nine assists in a Feb. 23, 2019, home loss to Concordia. (Steven R. Smith)

RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Concordia (N.Y.) College shot 56 percent from the floor, including 68 percent after halftime, to earn an 85-72 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference women's basketball victory over host Felician University on Saturday afternoon at Job Gymnasium. Concordia (7-19, 5-12 CACC) gained a split of the season series between the CACC North Division foes.

Felician's loss, combined with Caldwell University's victory at Nyack College on Saturday, eliminated the Golden Falcons from the possibility of hosting a quarterfinal CACC playoff game. Felician will travel to either the University of the Sciences or the Jefferson Rams for its first-round tournament contest on Mar. 5.

Felician senior Kameron Stone (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Spellman) (7-12 FG, 4-4 FT) recorded 18 points, 12 rebounds, four steals and three blocked shots. The performance marked Stone's eighth "double-double" of the season and the 12th of her career. Golden Falcon senior Kayla Diaz (Clifton, N.J./Paterson Eastside) (nine assists) and sophomore Bionca Chambers (Bronx, N.Y./New Milford [N.J.]) (six rebounds, four steals) also netted 18 points apiece.

Junior guard Nicole Nicholson (Staten Island, N.Y./Moore Catholic) (7-10 FG, 4-4 FT) led five Concordia double-figure scorers with 22 points and added five steals.

Both teams shot well during the first quarter, out of which Felician (8-16, 8-9) emerged with a 23-18 lead. A Nicole Pimentel (Newark, N.J./Science Park) three-pointer stretched the advantage to eight, but Concordia followed with a 12-3 run to move ahead by one with six minutes, 12 seconds, to play until halftime. The hosts went back on top by five points on two occasions before settling for a 43-40 halftime lead.

The sides stayed within one possession for the first seven minutes of period three. A short jump shot by Clipper sophomore Cameron Corbett (Staten Island, N.Y./Staten Island Academy) gave her team a 56-55 advantage with 3:51 left in the period, and the visitors would never trail again. The shot started a 10-0 run to close the third for Concordia.

A three by Nicholson put the Clippers ahead, 67-57, with 9:18 left. Felician pulled to within 71-67 following a Diaz trifecta at 6:07, but turned the ball over on its next two possessions with chances to further close the gap. It proved to be a pivotal stretch, as the Clippers scored the next six points to again lead by 10 with 2:57 to play. The final 13-point margin was Concordia's largest of the afternoon.

Concordia made 8 of 10 three-point attempts, led by Nicholson's 4 for 4. The Clippers also outscored Felician 19-8 at the foul line, converting at an 83-percent clip. The high shooting rates mitigated 25 Concordia turnovers, which the Golden Falcons turned into 32 points.

Corbett scored 17 points, and Sara Hopkins (Mountain Top, Pa./Crestwood) and Saundra Cleckley (Queens, N.Y./Christ the King) turned in 14 each for Concordia.

Felician travels to first-place Dominican (N.Y.) College on Wednesday for a 5:30 p.m. tip in Orangeburg, N.Y.