Gordon's Late Bucket Helps Lightning Overcome Dolphins, 64-63

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NEW YORK, N.Y. - Jaleesa Gordon's recovery and putback of Leslie Mencia's blocked closing-seconds runner was the difference on Wednesday night as the Lehman women escaped with a 64-63 win over the College of Staten Island.

Trailing 63-62 following a basket by CSI's Katelyn Hepworth, Leslie Mencia misfired from three-point territory trying to regain the lead for Lehman with just over one minute to play.  Lehman's hope for a win was seemingly crushed when Jaclyn Tocco came up with a huge offensive rebound after Olivia Tierno was forced to throw up a shot with the shot clock about to expire.  However, a missed free throw by Nikki Fabozzi opened the door for the Lightning.

With under 20 seconds to play, Mencia made a move from the left side across the free throw line and tried to put up a shot, only to have it deflected.  Fortunately for the Lightning it fell into the hands of Gordon, who corralled the ball, made a move to her left, and floated a shot high off the glass and in for the lead.  CSI managed to get a final shot off from just inside the halfcourt line, but it would not have counted as time had expired. 

The basket by Gordon capped a Lightning comeback that negated a sluggish first half performance. After building a 14-9 lead, Lehman was hit with a 10-0 run by the Dolphins that eventually led to a 36-23 CSI advantage with 1:17 remaining.  A three-pointer just before the buzzer by Amanda De La Cruz left Lehman down 36-26 at the break.  Lehman was hurt during the initial 20 minutes by three fouls picked up by Leslie Mencia which negated her usual aggressiveness.

There didn't appear to be much of a change once the teams returned to the floor as a layup by Hepworth increased CSI's advantage to 46-32 with 16:32 left.  With 11:20 showing, Hepworth sank a free throw to put CSI up 57-41.

A basket by Mencia began a 13-0 run that pulled the Lightning to within 57-54.  With CSI trying to stem the Lehman momentum, Mencia drilled a three to pull the team closer at 58-57.  Two possessions later, De La Cruz found Jasmin Castro-Lopez along the left baseline for the game-tying jumper.  She then hit Mencia along the right side for a three-pointer that broke the deadlock and gave Lehman the 62-59 lead with 3:17 remaining.  CSI's Danielle Kartalis scored to put the Dolphins down one in advance of Hepworth's go-ahead basket.

With the win, Lehman returns to the .500 mark at 10-10.  Mencia led all scorers in the game with 23 points, while De La Cruz and Gordon each finished with 14 points.  Gordon also added 10 boards and eight blocks for her third straight double-double.

CSI was led by Hepworth's 21 points and 14 rebounds.  Olivia Tierno also added a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds.  Lehman was outrebounded 53-42 on the night.

The Lightning has the next four days off before returning to the court on January 30 to face New Jersey City University.