Briarcliffe's Women's Basketball 2011-2012 Update
February 10, 2012
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The Briarcliffe College Lady Bulldogs basketball program entered the 2011-2012 with high expectations to compete for an USCAA Championship under 5th year head coach Jay Lynch. The 2010-2011 campaign was highly successful with the BC women finishing with a school record of 17 wins and ending the season ranked #7 in the nation. The Lady Bulldogs were only once ranked higher nationwide when the 2007-2008 squad returned home from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma ranked 6th in the country. Briarcliffe has been to the USCAA national championship 3 of the first 4 seasons under Coach Lynch’s leadership and had their sights set on another run at the title this year.
The Lady Bulldogs headed north to play in the NHTI tip-off tournament in Concord, NH and opened vs Concords Community College with an impressive victory. Briarcliffe went on to win the championship game and the season was off to a tremendous start. Second year player Ifeanyi Ofili was named the tournament MVP. Ms. Ofili was the 2010 Nassau county player of the year while she attended Uniondale HS and currently leads all BC players in scoring at 21 points per game. Wyandanch HS product Jessica Little was named to the all-tournament team. Also a second year player, Jess Little lead’s Briarcliffe with 11 rebounds per game and averages almost 16 ppg. Playing their third game in three days Briarcliffe defeated Fisher College in Boston to open up 3-0.
Briarcliffe then travelled to Penn State Wilkes Barre to face an USCCA conference rival and came away with a 62-54 victory. The following day the Bulldogs moved to the College of St. Elizabeth campus in New Jersey to put up a 3point victory. Finally heading home and playing their 6th game in 10 days Briarcliffe defeated Cooper Union College at home lead by 27 points from Judy Pierre. The Briarcliffe College young ladies were off to a fast 6-0 start and yet another USCAA top ten rival on the horizon as they headed to the Penn-State Brandywine Holiday classic to face the host team. BC was once again victorious lead by Queens, NY product Shenita Urquhart who scored 31 gritty points that night. Shenita is also a sophomore and is averaging 14 points per game while effectively running coach’s system as the point guard. The 3 sophomores Iffeanyi Ofili, Shenita Urquhart and Jess Little provide over 50 points per game. Not to be outdone, Ifeanyi Ofili led Briarcliffe to a 75-61 victory over Central Penn College by dropping 32 points that game. Fellow second year player asha Santamaria out of NYC powerhouse Christ the King HS provides steady defense and rebounding in the center position on a nightly basis. With 4 second year players in the starting line-up Briarcliffe’s future looks good well beyond this season.
Berkeley College was next up and BC prevailed with a 14 point victory over one of the USCAA’s top ten ranked teams.
A home victory over Word of Life Biblical College and BC was off to a 10-0 start and ranked #2 in the country. The USCAA ranking of #2 nationally was, and is, the highest ranked the women’s program has ever been. Much of this is an attribute to junior captain Ana Fernandez who rounds out the starting five and plays relentless defense night in and night out on the opponent’s top player. Ana’s unselfish play compliments her team mates and adds chemistry to the winning formula of success at Briarcliffe.
With the end of the fall semester looming BC heading to Maine to face USCAA rivals Central Maine Community College and Southern Maine Community College in back to back games against the Yankee Conference’s top 2 teams. Central Maine defeated the Lady Bulldogs by 1 and the Briarcliffe women responded the following day with a 30 point victory over Southern Maine to head into the holidays with an impressive 11-1 record. Patricia Simpson filled in for an injured Jess Little in the victory over Southern Maine and scored 17 points. Ifeanyi Ofili and Shenita Urquhart also chipped in 17 each.
The second half of the season saw Briarcliffe open up against three top teams in the country in Rochester College ranked #3, Berkeley College ranked #7 and at Apprentice ranked #4 with BC going down to defeat in the three great games. The Lady Bulldogs then won a tough battle against Barber-Scotia College in Newport News, VA. at the Apprentice School Martin Luther King Memorial tournament. BC was back to its winning ways. Briarcliffe would respond with home and away victories over NYC’s Kings College and a hard fought victory at UCONN-Avery Point where transfer student Alexandra Dickens played a key role in the win. Alex, a Roosevelt HS graduate, will need to continue her improved play if the Lady Bulldogs are to win a national championship this year.
With the season winding down the Briarcliffe women’s basketball team is 15-4 and ranked #4 in the country. Athletic Director Gina D’Amaro has the team prepared to meet any and all challenges both on the court as the national Championships are just around the corner. Bids to the USCAA National Championship go out Feb.28 to the top 16 teams in the country. The championship will be held at Penn-State Fayette in Uniontown, PA March 7th thru March 10th. Coach Lynch and his team will certainly be ready for the challenge.