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Lady Panthers Upset QCC 65-59 in Championship Semifinals

February 15, 2012

The semifinals of the 2012 CUNYAC/Con Edison Community College Women's Basketball Championship just finished at the Robert F. Kennedy Gymnasium on the campus of QCC.

The Final on Friday night will feature a first-time matchup, the #4 BMCC Panthers (9-17) versus the #2 Kingsborough Wave (10-15). The Panthers last held the trophy in 2003, while KCC is still looking for title #1 . The Championship game tips off at QCC at 6:00 pm. Tickets are free, but required for entry (CLICK HERE).

#4 Borough of Manhattan Panthers 65, #1 Queensborough Tigers 59 • Boxscore

In the first game, #4 seeded Borough of Manhattan Community College came back from a 17-point second half deficit to upset  the defending champions and number one seed, Queensborough Community College, 65-59 to gain a berth into Friday night's final.

"This is amazing. I was so nervous going into the game," said BMCC's Aiyana Harris, who finished with 20 points on the night, playing all fourty minutes. "We played together, we played hard, and we played smart. We didn't turn the ball over as much as we did in the first half."

Following a Jaclyn Torres three-pointer with 13:53 remaining in the game and trailing 46-29, the Panthers, playing only their five starters went on an unlikely run. Over the next four minutes, BMCC stormed back with 14 straight points, seven from Denea Fleary (17 points) and five by Harris, to get right back into it at 46-43.

Then with 7:54 remaining and the score at 50-45 in favor of the Tigers, the defending champions were held to a single point over the next six and a half minutes, as the Panthers took control of the game. Hariss nailed two more buckets and a free throw and Christina Best seemingly burst back into the thick of the game with five points of her own in less than a minute to give BMCC a 58-51 lead with less than two minutes left in the game.

Fleary and Harris each made crucial free throws down the stretch, as BMCC winners of last Friday night's play-in game over Bronx C.C. became unlikely qualifiers for the final, topping the four-time defending titlists.

A close contest throughout most of the first half, the Tigers pulled away with a quick six-point run to go from an 18-15 lead into a 24-15 capped by a Keyanna Jean-Louis steal and layup at the 3:54 mark. The teams swapped a pair of baskets and Queensborough led 26-19 at the break. CUNYAC leading scorer, freshman Sabrina Rodriguez (19 points) had only four points at the break.

Besides Rodriguez, Latasha Harris had 13 points and six rebounds, while sophomore Jaclyn Torres had nine points and a team-high eight rebounds.

Searching for the school's first title since 2003, the Panthers are back in the Championship game for the first time since 2010 and head coach Veronica Sherman, who won two titles with BMCC was stunned after the game, "One word. Heart. You see a win like this and you feel like you can believe in anything. I am speechless."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Special thanks to

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