By Merle Exit
The Knights are champions again.
The second-seeded Queens College women’s basketball team earned the ECC Championship for the second year in a row Sunday, this time with a win of 60-54 over fourth-seeded Roberts Wesleyan at the UDC Sports Complex in Washington, D.C.
The three Rowland sisters were rolling, as Madison led the Knights in scoring with 17 points and added 10 rebounds. MacKenzie was relentless near the hoop, scoring 16 points and grabbing a game-high 19 rebounds, while Merrick connected on three three-pointers on her way to scoring 13 points. Kristen Korzevinski, who scored 30 points in an 82-56 win Saturday against District of Columbia, chipped in eight points against Roberts Wesleyan.
“It’s an amazing feeling, but I couldn’t have done it without my team,” said MacKenzie Rowland, the game’s MVP. “Everyone put in all their effort this weekend.”
MacKenzie Rowland said that having her two sisters on the team made the games even more special, calling it “a family thing.”
The Knights never fell behind, even in a slow first quarter that ended with a score of just 12-6. The gap closed during the second quarter, with Queens seizing the first double-digit lead before Roberts Wesleyan rallied to an 18-16 advantage. A Mackenzie Rowland jumper closed the first half and gave the Knights a 20-16 lead at the break.
The second half saw all three Rowland sisters running rampant, with help from Korzevinski. With 15.6 seconds to go in the game, the score was 57-52 and there was still some hope for Robert Wesleyan. But then, freshman guard Kaitlyn Mahon scored on three of four free throws to secure the Knights’ second straight championship.
“Everybody in the conference made it tough for us,” said Queens Coach Bet Naumovski. “It was definitely an accomplishment to go back-to-back and I’m proud of them…We pushed the tempo a little bit more in the second half as I thought the offense was a little stagnant, and was watching MacKenzie, in particular. A few offensive rebounds helped us along the way.”
After losing early last year in the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Championship, Naumovski believes her team can produce better results in this year’s tournament, which starts the first week in April.
“We are confident as we have already beaten the teams that are going into it,” Naumovski said. “When you’re going into a [tournament] that you’ve only experienced one time, we know what to expect and we will be more ready.”