Post-season proves short for NY and NJ Division I teams

Lois Elman | 3/24/2016, 12:49 p.m.
Post-season cut short for New York and New Jersey Division I NCAA Women's basketball teams.
A first round loss in the NCAA Tournament marked the conclusion of Danaejah Grant's (shown here with the Big East Trophy) college career. St. John's photo

It was one and done for the five teams from New York and New Jersey playing in the Division I NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. Some were outmatched from the get-go and others battled to the finish, but each team saw its season come to an end.

St. John’s University achieved new heights this year, winning the Big East Tournament for the first time in 28 years, but the Red Storm lost to Auburn University 68-57, despite an outstanding 25-point effort by senior guard Danaejah Grant. After the game, coach Joe Tartamella paid tribute to Grant and fellow senior guard Aliyyah Handford.

Army West Point lost to Syracuse University 73-56. A 39-14 first-half deficit put the Black Knights in too deep of a hole to overcome, despite outscoring Syracuse in the second half. Senior guard Kelsey Minato, the first active cadet to have her jersey retired, finished her collegiate career with 2,556 total points.

With a history-making at-large bid, the goal of Princeton University’s players was to go even deeper into the tournament than it did in 2015, when the Tigers won their first-round game. It wasn’t to be, as Princeton fell 74-65 to University of West Virginia.

Iona College’s first tournament appearance was joyful, but brief, as the Gaels were outmatched by the nationally ranked University of Maryland, losing 74-58. Senior forward Joy Adams had six points and five steals. MAAC Tournament MOP Marina Lizarazu had 11 points and six assists.

Seton Hall University fell to Duquesne University in a high-scoring game, 97-76. Seniors Tabatha Richardson-Smith, Aleesha Powell and Shakena Richardson all scored in double figures.

Stony Brook University went out in the first round of the Women’s Basketball Invitational, losing 67-60 to Youngstown State. In the post-season WNIT, a tournament that Rutgers University won in 2014, the Scarlet Knights lost in the second round to the University of Virginia, 71-55. For years, Rutgers was a consistent presence in the NCAA Tournament, losing to the University of Tennessee in the championship game in 2007. Now coach C. Vivian Stringer has to figure out how to put her team back on a winning track.

The only NY/NJ team still in post-season action is Hofstra University, which advanced to the third round of the WNIT.