HUNTER 58 , #1 STATEN ISLAND 56
Jamaica, NY - In the face of universal agreement that it could get no better than last year's exciting Con Edison / CUNYAC Championship game between Hunter College and the College of Staten Island ... it did! Hunter senior forward Jen Agosto (Brooklyn, NY / Midwood) banked in a runner from near the top of the key with one second remaining in regulation to lift the Hawks to a 58-56 victory over top-seeded Staten Island in the 2004 championship game. The second-seeded Hawks (18-10) clinched their third consecutive title and captured a third straight automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Agosto's late-game heroics started less than a minute earlier when she hit a three-pointer at the 53 second mark to pull Hunter to within two at 56-54. Sophomore forward Topaz Robbins (Brooklyn, NY / Midwood) then made a steal for the Hawks 20 seconds later and converted a dazzling lay-up on a long pass from senior center Tania Blanco (Bronx, NY / Saint Catharine) to tie the score at 56-56. The Hawks continued with their intense defensive pressure and forced Staten Island into another turnover with 10 seconds on the clock to set up the thrilling conclusion.
Agosto finished with a game-high 25 points and was an obvious choice for the CUNYAC Tournament Most Valuable Player award. By hitting four three-pointers in the contest, she also moved into a tie for 10th place in NCAA Division III history with 268 career three-pointers. Blanco added 13 points and tied her personal best with a game-high 22 rebounds to earn CUNYAC All-Tournament accolades. Robbins finished with six points, four assists, and three steals while sophomore guard Jen Chico Ithier (New York, NY / Manhattan Center) contributed four points, five assists, and five steals for Hunter.
The Dolphins (21-6) appeared to be in control throughout the game and led by 11 points, 55-44, with 4:40 left after a driving lay-up by junior center Jacclyn Rock (Staten Island, NY / New Dorp). The defensive scheme applied by the Hawks held the Dolphins without a basket the rest of the way, however. Staten Island's last point came when freshman guard Acasha Gordon (Staten Island, NY / Curtis) hit a free throw at the 1:05 mark. Rock tallied 14 points, 17 rebounds, five assists, and four steals to earn CUNYAC All-Tournament honors. Gordon scored 13 points off the bench, sophomore forward Kim Thompson (Staten Island, NY / Saint John Villa) tallied 10 points and five steals, and senior forward Tamara Taylor (Staten Island, NY / Curtis) added eight points and 11 rebounds to also garner a CUNYAC All-Tournament nod.
Hunter trailed 29-24 at halftime before netting the first four points of the second half to close within a single point. Agosto drained a three-pointer from the right corner and Ithier hit a free throws at the 18:41 mark. The Hawks took their first lead of the half, 34-33, on a buzzer-beating jumper by senior guard Leza Tazama (Brooklyn, NY / Brooklyn Tech) with 15:31 remaining.
All-Tournament Team: MVP Jen Agosto (Hunter), Tania Blanco (Hunter), Jacclyn Rock (Staten Island), Tamara Taylor (Staten Island), Cherith Pointer (John Jay), Alexandra Stamatiades (Baruch).