Golden Falcons Fall Short Of Regionally-Ranked Owls

(Photo by Steven R. Smith)
(Photo by Steven R. Smith)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Despite posting a season-high offensive output, the Felician University women's basketball team was defeated by host Southern Connecticut State University, 70-64, in non-conference action on Wednesday evening at Moore Field House. Felician (3-6) was playing its final non-league affair of the 2017-18 campaign.

Southern Connecticut State (8-3) is ranked No. 9 in the most recent NCAA Division II East Region media poll.

Junior guard Kayla Diaz (Clifton, N.J.) topped Felician with 15 points, all in the second half, and four steals. SCSU senior forward Abby Hurlburt (Thomaston, Conn.) turned in game highs of 21 points, 11 rebounds and four steals.

The Golden Falcons trailed, 27-16, at halftime, and 30-18 following a Murphy Murad (Storrs, Conn.) three-point field goal early in the third quarter. But the visitors came all the way back to even the score at 38-38 with three minutes, 28 seconds, left in the third. Felician had two possessions at that score, but never led, and exited the period down, 44-42. Diaz totaled 12 points in seven minutes in the quarter.

Owl senior Africa Williams (New York, N.Y.) made a lay-up on her team's first possession of the fourth quarter, and Felician never again came within one possession. Williams and Murad combined to score seven consecutive points to put SCSU ahead, 61-49, with 3:49 to play.

The remaining time saw both teams make frequent trips to the foul line, and at the 0:50 mark, the Owls were still up by nine. Felician's Danelle Gibson (Bronx, N.Y.) converted a conventional three-point play and Diaz made a three-point field goal, but Southern went 6 for 8 at the stripe in the final 38 seconds to preserve the victory.

Gibson scored 14 points and added four assists in 25 bench minutes for the Golden Falcons. Felician received 11 points from junior Kameron Stone (Bronx, N.Y.), while sophomore Kristin Smith (Hainesport, N.J.) totaled seven points and 10 rebounds. Williams finished with 11 points and Murad scored 10 for the Owls.

The teams emerged from a sluggish first period tied at 12-12. SCSU, however, limited Felician to 1 for 9 shooting from the floor in the second quarter to go into the locker room with the 11-point edge.

The Golden Falcons face a 17-day competitive layoff due to final exams followed by the NCAA Division II dead period. Felician is next in action on Dec. 31, when it makes the short trip to Bloomfield College for a noon Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference tipoff.