Diaz Sparks Comeback As Women's Basketball Grabs CACC Opener

Women's basketball guard -- one-handed entry pass
Senior guard Kayla Diaz scored 16 points with six rebounds and seven assists -- all career highs -- in a Dec 4, 2018, victory at Nyack. (Steven R. Smith)

NYACK, N.Y. – Felician University junior forward Shaelee Brown (Amarillo, Texas) made a tiebreaking three-point field goal with one minute, 48 seconds, left in regulation time to lift the Golden Falcons to a come-from-behind 67-61 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference women's basketball victory over host Nyack College on Tuesday evening at Bowman Gymnasium. The game marked the beginning of the 2018-19 CACC schedule for Felician.

Following Brown's bucket, Nyack (1-6, 0-2 CACC) called timeout, but came up empty on two attempts at the basket. Felician senior Kayla Diaz (Clifton, N.J.) converted a driving lay-up to put her team ahead, 64-59, at the 0:57 mark, and teammate Taliyah Brisco (Cambria Heights, N.Y.) secured the victory by making 3 of 4 free-throw attempts during the final 17 seconds.

Diaz scored 10 of Felician's 29 fourth-quarter points. Her 16 points, six rebounds and seven assists for the night all set or matched career highs. Golden Falcon senior forward Kameron Stone (Bronx, N.Y) registered 15 points, 15 rebounds and three blocked shots for her second "double-double" of the season and the sixth of her career.

Felician (1-4, 1-0) had trailed by as many as 14 points during the final period.

Senior Janae Bailey (7-10 FG) accumulated 16 points and eight rebounds and junior Yamalis Villegas (Cherry Hill, N.J.) added 15 points for the Warriors.

Felician was ahead, 12-11, following a sluggish first period for both sides. By halftime, however, the Golden Falcons had fallen behind, 33-20. The visitors were held to 21-percent shooting for the first 20 minutes, including 2 for 20 (10 percent) from three-point range.

The Golden Falcons sliced their deficit to five points on two occasions in period three, the latter time when Diaz found Smith for a lay-in with 3:29 left. Nyack netted the next four points, and carried that same margin, 47-38, to the quarter's buzzer.

Villegas assisted on a three-pointer by Jocelin Wright (Ithaca, N.Y.) to start the fourth before canning a jumper to restore the Warriors' largest spread, 52-38, at the 9:07 mark. Still down 14 with 7:58 to go, Felician embarked upon a 19-1 run over the next 5 ½ minutes of wall time. A Diaz lay-up at 4:08 put the visitors ahead for the first time since period one, and her three with 3:32 to go capped the uprising.

Nyack scored on its next two possessions to knot the game at 59-59, but Brisco would kick a pass back to Brown at the top of the three-point arc for the shot that put Felician ahead for good.

Felician senior Kristin Smith (Hainesport, N.J.) was 5 for 6 from the floor and fouled out with 10 points. Brisco amassed nine points and five assists. The Golden Falcons improved to 57 percent shooting after halftime for a 38-percent figure for the night.

Felician plays its home opener on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Rutherford, N.J., entertaining Franklin Pierce University.