RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Junior guard Kayla Diaz (Clifton, N.J./International) scored a career-high 16 points to help lead Felician University to a 57-43 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference women's basketball victory over visiting Nyack College on Tuesday evening at Job Gymnasium. Felician (3-4, 1-1 CACC) was playing its 2017-18 home opener.
The win was the 100th NCAA coaching victory for Felician head coach Steve Fagan. Ninety-three of those have come with the Golden Falcons. Fagan also owns 89 junior-college coaching wins, which are not recognized by the NCAA.
On Tuesday, Felician held the Warriors to 18 second-half points. The Golden Falcons forced 28 Nyack turnovers for the game, which they turned into 31 points.
Felician junior center Kristin Smith (Hainesport, N.J./Rancocas Valley) totaled 12 points and 11 rebounds. It was her first "double-double" of the season and the second of her career. Sophomore forward Jocelin Wright (Ithaca, N.Y./Ithaca) led Nyack (1-9, 1-1) with 11 points and 10 boards.
Felician led by as many as eight points in the first half. But the Warriors ended the second quarter on an 8-0 run over the final five minutes, and the teams entered halftime even, 25-25.
The game was still tied, 30-30, halfway through the third period. Ahead 33-32, the Golden Falcons held Nyack scoreless for a stretch of nearly four minutes, and again built an eight-point lead following a late Kayla Hourany (Queens, N.Y./St. Francis Prep) three-point field goal. Warrior senior Kelli Smoot (Baltimore, Md./Milford Mill Academy) beat the buzzer with a jumper, however, for a 40-34 deficit.
The hosts took full control in the fourth quarter. Smith scored 10 points in a 12-4 Golden Falcon run which left Felician ahead, 52-38 and 3:56 to go in regulation time. Neither team scored for the next 2 ½ minutes of game time, effectively ending the Warriors' comeback chances. A pair of free throws by Diaz with 1:25 to play gave the Golden Falcons their largest spread of the night, 54-38.
Felician received nine points and 11 rebounds from senior guard Shana Owen (Philadelphia, Pa./Carver). Smoot netted 10 points off the bench for Nyack.
Fagan became Felician's fourth head coach in September 2008, and is the Golden Falcons' all-time victories leader. He was the 2011-12 CACC Coach of the Year.
Felician steps back out of conference play to host Bowie State University on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Rutherford.