Women’s basketball beats Lehman in close contest


Denis Gostev | Baruch Athletics

Edgar Llivisupa, Sports Editor

After an ill-advised foul by No. 6 Lehman’s Brianna Barnes, No. 3 Baruch women’s basketball team avoided elimination in the quarterfinal round of the CUNY Athletic Conference Tournament.

They advance to the semifinal to play at No. 2 John Jay.

Lehman only trailed by two in the final seconds of the game before the foul sent Milly Ye to the free-throw line. A pair of successful attempts increased the lead to four, enough to secure the win 52-48.

The majority of the first half suggested anything but a close game. Baruch dominated their opponent in the first quarter, outscoring them 16-4, and extending their lead by 14 points in the second quarter, the largest of the game.

Lehman then went on a run in the final two minutes of the half as Chinera Ortiz scored six out of eight straight points to cut the lead to five, capitalizing on three Baruch turnovers in the final minute.

Their comeback continued after halftime, led again by Ortiz, scoring the six out of eight points to start the third quarter as they took the lead for only the second time of the match.

The contest remained close in the third quarter with multiple lead changes.

A successful free throw by Angela Bacarella with 16 seconds left secured Baruch the lead they would not relinquish the rest of the game. Baruch appeared in control in the fourth quarter, poised to advance in the tournament after growing their lead to six with five minutes to go.

A foul by Baruch’s Paige Traynor and Elissa Leung allowed Lehman to cut the lead to two after a pair of free throws from Ortiz and a layup by Kimberly Garcia.

The end of the second half looked similar to the first after another turnover from Baruch and a missed 3-pointer that led Lehman to be within a bucket of taking the game to overtime.

After Ye’s free throws, Baruch was able to prevent Mojisola Shokeye from making a layup with time expiring.

Elissa Leung led the Bearcats in scoring with 17 points, meanwhile Melinda Spahiu had a double-double with 11 points and 16 rebounds. She also led the team with five assists. Paige Traynor and Ye were other players to score double digits for Baruch.

Lehman’s Barnes had a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds while Shokeye led in scoring with 17 points.

Baruch will travel to John Jay for the CUNYAC Tournament semifinals after their win against No. 7 City College on Feb. 22.

The Bearcats split the season against John Jay, winning a close game at home 59-55 and losing by a blowout in the Bronx 57-72.