Felician Women Put Scare Into Unbeaten Rams Before Succumbing

Bionca Chambers scored a career-high 30 points with seven rebounds and five assists in a Jan.5, 2019, home loss to Jefferson. (Steven R. Smith)
Bionca Chambers scored a career-high 30 points with seven rebounds and five assists in a Jan.5, 2019, home loss to Jefferson. (Steven R. Smith)

RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Felician University used a career-best scoring effort from sophomore Bionca Chambers (Bronx, N.Y./New Milford [N.J.]) and a second consecutive "double-double" by senior Kristin Smith (Hainesport, N.J./Rancocas Valley) to put a scare into the undefeated and nationally-ranked Jefferson Rams, but visiting Jefferson recovered from a four-point halftime deficit to claim the teams' Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference women's basketball contest, 84-75, on Saturday afternoon at Job Gymnasium.

The Rams (14-0, 5-0 CACC) are ranked No. 16 in the most recent NCAA Division II national media poll, 18th in the latest national coaches' poll, and third regionally. Felician concluded a 29-day, six-game homestand. For the second consecutive game, the Golden Falcons lost despite scoring a season-high point total.

Chambers finished with 30 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. She shot 5 for 12 from three-point range, leading Felician to a season-best 11 threes. Chambers added three steals and two blocked shots in 39 minutes. Smith turned in 10 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks.

Sophomore Caitlyn Cunningham (Dresher, Pa./Mount St. Joseph) paced Jefferson with 23 points, six rebounds and four steals. The Rams received 19 points and six boards from senior Jessica Kaminski (Philadelphia, Pa./Archbishop Wood), while junior Alynna Williams (Ambler, Pa./Plymouth Whitemarsh) added 18 points.

The Golden Falcons (2-9, 2-2) netted the final seven points of the first period for a 22-16 edge. Felician never trailed in the second quarter, moving ahead by as many as eight points following two Chambers free throws with 3:23 to play before halftime before settling for a 33-29 edge at the break.

Felician matched its largest lead of the day, 42-33, on a Smith layup with just under three minutes gone by in the second half. The Rams, however, fashioned a 12-2 run, taking the lead on a three-pointer by Williams with 3:59 left in the third period.

Jefferson asserted itself as the aggressors, causing the hosts to be called for 13 personal founds in the quarter. It went 11 for 16 from the foul line in the third, with Kaminski accounting for a 7-for-11 clip. Kaminski totaled 11 points in the third, which Jefferson exited leading, 56-52.

The Rams appeared to take control when a Kaminski layup at the 6:55 mark gave them a 67-58 lead, and a Williams three at the 5:24 mark restored the nine-point margin. But Felician pulled within 77-74 on a Chambers three at 3:00, then rebounded a Jefferson miss. But Kayla Diaz (Clifton, N.J./Paterson Eastside) was long on a tying jumper from distance, and Williams scored on a third-chance put-back with 1:47 to play. The Golden Falcons could come up with only one point the rest of the way.

Diaz (4-8 3FG) finished with 12 points, six rebounds and four assists, and Kameron Stone (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Spellman) recorded eight points and nine rebounds for Felician. Beverly Kum (Hagerstown, Md./St. Maria Goretti) delivered 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Rams.

Jefferson committed only 10 turnovers, and outscored the Golden Falcons, 24-10, at the foul line.

Felician travels to Concordia (N.Y.) College for a 3 p.m. tipoff on Tuesday. It will be the Golden Falcons' first road game since Dec. 4.