Brooklyn College’s women’s basketball team won the CUNYAC Championship this past Friday, with a 62-57 win over Hunter College in the finals.
Junior forward Chanel Jemmott was named the game’s MVP for the second time in her career after finishing with 14 points and 24 rebounds. The Bulldogs captured their second CUNYAC Championship in three years (also winning in 2018), and will now face Bowdoin College in the NCAA Tournament.
Both Brooklyn and Hunter started off slow in the finals both implementing a 3-2 zone defense. Brooklyn certainly struggled, shooting only 20 percent from the field in the first quarter, but picked it up in the second with 35 percent. Brooklyn led 28-26 going into half time. The Bulldogs were able to hit enough shots with consistent three-point shooting from freshman Sarah James, who went 6-10 from distance, which broke the 3-2 zone and opened up the paint. The Bulldogs had an answer for every run the Hawks tried to make in the second half and fed off the energy of their crowd.
As the game winded down, The Hawks never gave up, making three-pointers to keep the pressure on Brooklyn. To the credit of the Bulldogs, they showed composure and never seemed to let the moment feel too big for them. They went to the free throw line and clinched the game and the CUNYAC Championship for Brooklyn College.
In the semi-finals of the CUNYAC Championships, the Bulldogs hosted York College. The Bulldogs were animated before the game, chanting loudly and encouraging teammates.
The tip went up, and Brooklyn opened the game with a three-pointer from forward Sarah James. Brooklyn’s defense was tenacious, and it was evident early that York did not have enough solid ball-handlers to take advantage of Brooklyn’s aggressive on-ball defense. On York’s first few possessions, they turned the ball over every single time.
The Bulldogs had a lot of good looks early on, but were not converting at a high rate. Luckily, the three-ball was falling, the source of Brooklyn’s first nine points. Brooklyn also had deep numbers, with ten players touching the floor in just the first quarter alone. The score was 16-4 after one quarter of play. Graduate student Kailyn Richburg put together a great first quarter off the bench.
Brooklyn’s two top scorers, Chanel Jemmott and Taylor George both did not have their offensive games going early on, but Brooklyn still dominated with its defense. Before the half, Jemmott did have one behind-the-back dribble to a pull-up three-pointer that made the crowd go wild. The score was 33-17 at halftime.
York came out of the tunnel aggressive in the third quarter, and cut the lead within single digits at 35-26. But Brooklyn got their flow back, bolstered by their free ball-movement and solid three-point shooting. Brooklyn went on a 22-3 run and led 57-29 after three. The Bulldogs continued to cruise to the finish line, and won the game 72-45. Freshman guard Ericka James led the way with 17 points, hitting five three-pointers.
With the Bulldogs’ CUNYAC Championship win, the team finishes the regular season and CUNYAC Championships with an astounding 21-6 overall record and 14-0 in-conference. The Bulldogs have also won five games in a row, and must feel extremely confident as they enter the NCAA tournament to face Bowdoin on Friday, March 6.