Felician Halts Dominican's Charge For 64-60 Home Win

Women's basketball guard dribbling, ball at palm.
Kayla Diaz's first blocked shot of the season helped clinch a 64-60 home win over Dominican on Dec. 19, 2018. (Steven R. Smith)

RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Felician University senior guard Kayla Diaz (Clifton, N.J./Paterson Eastside) blocked a go-ahead three-point field goal attempt with 29 seconds remaining in regulation time and the Golden Falcons went on to a 64-60 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference women's basketball victory over visiting Dominican (N.Y.) College on Wednesday evening at Job Gymnasium.

Felician (2-6, 2-0 CACC) snapped an eight-game home losing streak dating back to last season. The Golden Falcons are 2-0 in CACC play for the first time since 2011-12.

After Kameron Stone (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Spellman) made all three free throws of a three-shot foul with one-tenth of a second left in the third quarter, Felician entered period four with a 50-44 lead. The Golden Falcons were ahead by that same margin, 58-52, with 2:55 to play when a putback by senior Kristin Smith (Hainesport, N.J./Rancocas Valley) extended to an eight-point edge.

The teams traded empty possessions, but Dominican then received consecutive three-pointers from Ashley Merritt (Poughkeepsie, N.Y./FDR) and Korina Guerra (White Plains, N.Y./Ursuline School) to pull within 60-58 at the 1:47 mark. The Chargers turned the ball over in transition with a chance to tie, then gained another defensive stop, only to see Diaz quickly react to get a hand on a Guerra attempt from distance and recover the rebound.

With the shot clock off, the Chargers scrambled to foul Diaz, but it was only their first personal foul of the quarter. The Golden Falcons successfully entered the ball inbounds four times in a four-second span, with Dominican committing a foul each time to reach the bonus. At 0:14, Felician junior Taliyah Brisco (Cambria Heights, N.Y./Francis Lewis) converted a pair of free throws. Following a Khay'la Lattimer (Teaneck, N.J./ICHS-Lodi) lay-up, the scene repeated, and Brisco canned two more foul shots to clinch the Felician win.

Felician sophomore guard Bionca Chambers (Bronx, N.Y./New Milford [N.J.]) came off the bench to lead all scorers with 14 points and add seven rebounds. Stone scored 13 points with five boards and Smith added 12 points and nine caroms. Brisco completed the evening with 10 points.

The Golden Falcons made a season-high eight three-pointers, including three from Chambers, and committed a campaign-low 14 turnovers. Dominican (4-7, 1-2) made 19 miscues, which the hosts turned into 15 points.

Both teams got off to a slow offensive start, with the game even, 2-2, after 4 ½ minutes of action. Felician was up, 16-13, after one period, and netted the first three points of a see-saw second. A 17-6 Dominican run spanning six minutes gave the visitors their largest bulge of the night, 30-25. But the Golden Falcons closed the half strong, heading into intermission ahead, 34-33, after a late basket by freshman Briana Boyd (Lumberton, N.J./Rancocas Valley) (eight points, 4-7 FG).

Felician led by as many as nine points on two occasions in the third quarter, and assumed its largest advantage, 58-46, midway through the fourth.

Junior Jasmine Gee (Englewood, N.J./ICHS-Lodi) led Dominican with 12 points and nine rebounds in 31 bench minutes.

Felician is in the middle of a six-game homestand. The Golden Falcons come out of the NCAA Division II dead period to host regionally-ranked LIU Post on Dec. 29 at 1 p.m.