Gallaudet wins emotional NEAC game between top two teams on Pink Zone day
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Gallaudet University women's basketball team seized a share of first place in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) with an emotional 69-54 victory Saturday over Keuka College before a season-high crowd of 500, who were mostly covered in the color pink to show support for the Women's Basketball Coaches Association Pink Zone initiative.
Gallaudet (22-2, 19-2 NEAC) bounced back from a gut wrenching loss on the road Thursday against Penn St.-Abington and demonstrated that they had learned from their mistakes. The Bison cut their turnovers in half and didn't let up in the final minutes as they put the game away down the stretch.
The victory puts Gallaudet in a tie for first place with Keuka (21-2, 19-2), who suffered its first road loss of the season and saw its 15-game win streak end. Gallaudet sweeps the season series with Keuka as its two losses have come against the Bison.
All-American senior Easter Faafiti (Pittsburg, Calif.) led the charge for the Bison with a stellar performance of 27 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. Faafiti notches her 17th consecutive double-double, 19th overall this year. The forward/center is now 10 points away from reaching 1,000 career points in her two seasons with the Buff and Blue. Faafiti made a season best 13 free throws out of 17 attempts (.765 percent) with the majority coming in the second half where she made 10-of-13 (.769).
Senior center Nukeitra Hayes (Anderson, Ind.) had her best game in a month as she netted 14 points, brought down nine rebounds, made four blocks, passed out two assists and came up with two steals. Freshman Tandy Lewis (Frederick, Md.) was also impressive with her 10 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals. Freshmen guards Stephanie Weiss (Wellington, Fla.) and Britny Latham (Cleveland, Tenn.) scored eight and six points, respectively, and both had a 3-pointer. Junior guard Andrea Amati (Frederick, Md.) added four points in the win.
Keuka had three players reach double figures led by guard Brittany Schrock's 13 points followed by guard Jessica Bandrowski, who scored 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds to go with two assists and two steals. Nadia Madmoune came off the bench to tally 11 points and eight rebounds in 17 minutes of action.
The lead changed hands five times in the first six minutes of action as the Bison took the lead for good at the 14:19 mark in the first half. Faafiti made a layup, was fouled, and made a free throw to convert the three-point play and give GU a 12-10 lead. Gallaudet took a 34-22 lead into halftime. The closest Keuka got in the second half was six points, 41-35, with 12 minutes left in regulation.
GU shot 45.5 percent from the field (25-for-55) and made 17-of-24 attempts at the free-throw line (70.8 percent) while Keuka was held to just 32.2 percent from the field (19-for-59) in the game. The Bison scored 21 points off the 23 turnovers committed by the Storm and controlled the paint with a 34-22 advantage.
The Bison will close out their regular-season schedule with a home game tomorrow (Sunday, February 20) against conference foe Wells College at noon. This game will mark "Senior Day" for Faafiti and Hayes. A GU win would clinch home court advantage for the upcoming NEAC tournament. Keuka travels to Penn St.-Harrisburg tomorrow to conclude its regular-season.