Saunders Lay-Up Lifts Women's Basketball Into Playoffs

Jac'quel Saunders converted the game-winning lay-up on Feb. 7.
Jac'quel Saunders converted the game-winning lay-up on Feb. 7.

BLOOMFIELD, N.J. -- A driving lay-up by sophomore Jac'Quel Saunders (Trenton, NJ) with 12.2 seconds to play in regulation lifted Felician College to a come-from-behind 48-46 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference women's basketball victory over host Bloomfield College on Tuesday night at BC Gymnasium. Felician (14-7, 11-3) has won seven consecutive games and 10 of its last 11.

With the victory, the Golden Falcons assured themselves of a second consecutive trip to the CACC playoffs. Felician, which is in first place in the CACC North Division with five regular-season games remaining, needs to finish in the top two in the division to earn a first-round home game.

Saunders' tie-breaking lay-up came out of a timeout as the shot clock wound down. She accepted a pass from teammate Destiny Barnette (Paterson, NJ), drove from beyond the three-point line just right of midcourt, and scooped the ball in off the backboard. It was Felician's only lead of the second half. A contested jumper by Bloomfield senior Emily Hall (Montclair, NJ) from the right baseline front-rimmed the basket in the closing seconds, and the Golden Falcons' Jessica Ford (Jersey City, NJ) rebounded to secure the victory.

The teams went into halftime tied, 26-26, but Bloomfield opened the second half with a 14-4 run over the first nine-plus minutes of period two. The Golden Falcons still trailed, 45-39, with 3:48 to play, but held the Deacons without a field goal the rest of the way. Felician pulled within one point on a pair of Que Lyles (Bronx, NY) free throws at the 1:09 mark, then Shakeema Green (New York, NY) made a steal, was fouled, and converted one of two at the line to tie at 0:46. The Golden Falcons forced a traveling violation to set up Saunders' heroics.

Trina Plummer (West Babylon, NY) led Felician with 10 points and four steals before fouling out. Ford (seven rebounds) joined Saunders and Barnette with seven points apiece. Bloomfield's Vanessa Lamison (Laurel, MD) netted a game high 20 points with four steals.

Felician survived 23 percent shooting from the floor and 26 turnovers by out-rebounding Bloomfield, 43-31, and forcing 34 Deacon miscues.