Homeless hoopsters have hardly given up

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Attendees of the game between the Lehman College Lightning and Dickinson College Red Devils women’s basketball teams on Saturday could guess the outcome of the game simply by looking at the teams’ rosters before tip-off. 

While the Lightning had eight players listed, the Red Devils had 15, nearly double that of the Lehman. Six of Lehman’s players were freshman. 

Though the Lightning played valiantly from start to finish, they were defeated 73-54, in a game played at Manhattan College’s Draddy Gymnasium.

The Lighting’s record fell to 0-4, while the Red Devils went to 4-1. 

“Usually we are accustomed to having 14 or 15 players,” said Lehman coach Eric Harrison. 

Lehman’s men’s and women’s basketball teams have been playing their home games at off-campus sites, since Hurricane Irene sprung a leak in the college’s handsome Apex gymnasium last year. 

Just as the finishing touches were being put on the gym, Hurricane Sandy hit and the Federal Emergency Management Agency took over the building for the displaced. 

After a yearlong displacement, the Lightning are hoping to return to their home court in a men’s and women’s doubleheader against John Jay College, on Friday, Dec. 7. 

 

Keeping up

 

The Lightning played catch-up basketball for the entire game. They were much more successful at it in the first half than the second. 

Though they never led, Lehman managed an 8-8 tie with the Red Devils after six minutes of play. But the Lightning did not score another point for nearly seven minutes, while Dickinson scored 15. 

Harrison called a timeout and junior guard Jasmin Castro-Lopez followed immediately with a three-pointer.

For the remainder of the half, the teams exchanged virtually point-for-point, with the Lightning trailing by only eight, 35-27. 

Lehman was the first team to strike in the second half, as Jennifer Navarro’s three-pointer narrowed the game to 35-30. But the Red Devils again built a substantial lead, 53-40 with about 11 minutes left in the game, 64-45 with 5:37 left, and 70-54 with about a minute left. 

Castro-Lopez led Lehman with 19 points; Shalaya Nieves, 16; and Navarro, 13. Nieves was tops in rebounds with 12, while Stephanie Miranda had seven. 

Belma Mekic had 19 for Dickinson and Bridget Borgese, 17. 

Perhaps the most jarring statistic was that both Lehman guards, Castro-Lopez and Navarro, played the entire 40-minute game. 

“It was pretty close in the first half,” said Castro-Lopez, who admitted her team lost from being tired, but added, “this was a winnable game.” 

Coach Harrison, who has led the Lightning for 15 years, has hardly given up on the season. Despite his team’s inexperience, Harrison said that getting a home court will be a big boost. 

“We have gotten past these tough times,” he said. “We played some really tough times early and gotten some experience. Now, we can go on a run.”

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