Third-quarter eruption propels women's basketball to win vs. Mercy

Maia Hood scored 17 points, all in the second half, as NYIT won against host Mercy.
Maia Hood scored 17 points, all in the second half, as NYIT won against host Mercy.

NYACK, N.Y. — The NYIT women's basketball team flexed its muscles after halftime Wednesday. The Bears used a 22-0 third quarter to turn a tight matchup into a rout of host Mercy in a game played at Nyack College.

In what became a 70-51 victory, NYIT ultimately rattled off 24 straight points after halftime and held the Mavericks scoreless for the opening 11 minutes, 16 seconds after the break.

NYIT improved to 13-8 overall and 7-4 in the ECC.

The Bears also avoided a letdown after handing LIU Post its first East Coast Conference loss on Saturday in an emotionally charged Battle of the Boulevard at Recreation Hall.

Tiara Place, who returned to game action Jan. 12 after missing nine games, reentered the starting lineup against Mercy for the first time since spraining the MCL in her right knee in November.

And with Place and Corinn Baggs — who missed 15 games with a broken ankle — now back in the starting lineup, NYIT finally has considerable depth. And that allowed coach Kenny Parham to utilize an effective press for much of the opening two quarters.

Still, the Bears committed 14 turnovers before intermission and found themselves with only a 32-30 lead at the break.

"We haven't had a full amount of players, but that's something that's in our package," Parham said about the press. "But we turned the ball over too many times and gave them easy baskets."

Then came the 24-0 run after halftime that ended any upset bid for Mercy (6-15, 2-10 ECC), which is playing its home games away from campus again this season while its gym gets renovated.

The Bears, who handily defeated Mercy 80-49 in Old Westbury back on Dec. 6, swept the season series.

Five different Bears finished in double-figures in scoring — Maia Hood with 17 points, Nina Vukosavljevic and Shalie Frierson with 13 apiece, and Taylor Tripptree and Place with 10 apiece. All of Hood's scoring came after halftime.

"We talked about attention to detail at halftime," Parham said. "They came out and they had attention to detail."