KEUKA PARK, N.Y. – It was only the sixth game of the 2010-11 season for the Gallaudet University women's basketball team but Sunday's road contest against Keuka College was a key North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) showdown for both teams involved. GU, who is in its first season in the NEAC, came away with a hard fought 60-57 win at the Weed Physical Arts Center.
Gallaudet (6-0, 3-0 NEAC) remains perfect this season while the loss is the first for Keuka (6-1, 5-1). GU is now one of three teams at the top of the conference standings with 3-0 records while the Bison overall record is the only undefeated mark in the NEAC.
The Storm cut the Bison lead to one, 58-57, with two minutes left in regulation when Nicki Zahn made a basket for Keuka. GU missed its next three shots but the Bison defense came up with a big play late in the game. Keuka's Danielle Gravel (nine points) shot a 3-pointer but it was blocked by sophomore guard Shaquana McDonough (Pembroke, Mass.) to give Gallaudet possession. A Storm foul sent freshman guard Zamica Gage (Washington, D.C.) to the free-throw line where she made both attempts to give the Bison the three-point lead, 60-57. Keuka's Brittany Schrock threw up two 3-point shots but couldn't find the bottom of the net as time expired.
Gallaudet had balance scoring among its starters and bench players. Junior guard Andrea Amati (Frederick, Md.) was the leading scorer as she netted a game and season-high 12 points. McDonough finished the game with eight points, 10 rebounds and six steals. Gallaudet's combination of senior center Nukeitra Hayes (Anderson, Ind.) and forward/center Easter Faafiti (Pittsburg, Calif.) were held to single-digit point totals. Hayes finished with nine points, six rebounds and three blocks. Faafiti was held to her lowest point total this season (six points) but the All-American made her presence felt elsewhere as she recorded season-high totals for rebounds (16) and assists (six). She also made three steals in the win. Freshman Britny Latham (Cleveland, Tenn.) came off the bench to pour in 11 points for the Buff and Blue.
Keuka was led by Schrock's 10 points, four rebounds, three blocks, three steals and two assists. Jessica Fink added 10 points and three rebounds in the loss.
The Storm held a slight edge in rebounds (40-39) and received 34 points from their bench compared to the Bison who only had 19 points from the reserves. Gallaudet outscored Keuka 26-8 in the paint.
Hayes and Faafiti scored the game's first six points in under three minutes of play. The pair was then limited to nine points the rest of the game. Faafiti's last points came at the 17:31 left in the second half.
Keuka took its first and only lead in the game on a 3-pointer made by Mindy Buck (nine points) to give the Storm a 16-14 lead with 11:04 left before halftime. GU regained the lead on back-to-back shots made by Gage. Latham followed with a 3-pointer and completed a 3-point play as the Bison led 24-16. They took a 29-22 lead into the half.
The Storm tied the game on a Fink basket at the 4:56 mark in the second half as the two points knotted the score 53.
The Bison will next be in action on Wednesday, December 8, at home against NEAC foe Penn St.-Abington at 5 p.m.