By Dylan Butler
Erin Dollard stood on the same floor at Woodruff Hall perplexed.
She did not understand how it happened, how after she and her teammates on the Queens College women’s basketball team played with passion and grit for 40 minutes that their season — her final season and the best season in the program’s recent history — came to a screeching halt in a 64-58 loss at Adelphi in the NYCAC quarterfinals March 3.
“I guess basically they just made more shots than we did,” said Dollard, who had 14 points in the loss. “I think we both played real good. … I don’t know, I can’t even think right now.”
No. 5 Queens (17-11) led by as many as 10 in the first half and was up 56-54, but the Lady Knights scored just two more points in the final 5:47 of the game and fourth-seeded Adelphi (18-10) closed out on a 10-2 run to advance to Saturday’s semifinal against top-seeded New Haven.
“We played with a tremendous amount of heart and a really great effort and hustle and it’s not that we played badly, but we missed some free throws, we threw a couple of balls away,” Queens College coach Denis Conroy said. “And in a game like this, a tight game on the opponents’ court, every little thing is going to come back and haunt you.”
Shonda Holder, who had a game-high 20 points and 15 rebounds, lost control of the ball on an open layup attempt with Queens trailing 57-56. It was one of five critical turnovers in the final five minutes for the Lady Knights.
After going on a 22-6 run to take a 25-15 lead on a foul line jumper by Erin White with 7:15 left in the first half, Queens went nearly six minutes without scoring.
Led by Melanie Mangone (15 points) out of Christ the King High School and Carlyshia Hurdle (10 points, 15 rebounds), Adelphi capitalized and scored 15 consecutive points to take a 30-25 lead with 1:50 left.
Queens, which had a 53-38 rebounding edge, cut its deficit to 32-31 on a putback by Amy Mulligan (nine points, 15 rebounds) at the buzzer.
“I was very happy with the way we played the last two minutes of the first half,” Conroy said. “We were wobbly, we had blown the lead, we were going down and we righted the ship and fought back and got within a point.”
The second half was a back-and-forth affair featuring six ties and 12 lead changes, but Adelphi, which stretched its record to 12-1 at home this year, took the final lead on a three-pointer by Kerri Kirschbaum with 5:19 left in the second half.
“That just kind of put them over the edge,” Mulligan said of Kirschbaum’s lone three-pointer of the game. “We got a little frazzled … but you can’t fault effort and how much we put into the game.”
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.