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Dondre Simmons earns first victory as Berkeley College Women's Basketball Head Coach as Knights hold off late Pratt Institute charge to win 58-53

Dondre Simmons earns first victory as Berkeley College Women's Basketball Head Coach as Knights hold off late Pratt Institute charge to win 58-53

It may not have been how he drew it up, but Berkeley College's Dondre Simmons recorded his first victory as Head Coach of the institution's women's basketball team, pacing the Knights to a 58-53 victory over Pratt Institute Wednesday evening in Brooklyn, NY. With the triumph, Berkeley evened its recorded at 1-1, while the Cannoneers dropped to 1-1 with the defeat.

Leading the way for the Knights in tonight's win was Daniella Wood. The HVIAC Rookie of the Week followed her impressive 22-point, 22-rebound effort against the College of St. Elizabeth this past Friday with yet another double-double, as she recorded 14 points while snatching a team-high 14 rebounds. Kaina Martinez, who struggled in the season opener, was much more efficient all-around against Pratt, as he netted a team-high 15 points while registering a game-high eight assists. She also grabbed six rebounds. Jordan Washington posted a double-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and a team-high four steals in 23 minutes of action, and veteran Ebony Lofton also had herself a solid evening, as she contributed 10 points and 11 boards.

In the loss for Pratt Institute, the Cannoneers were led by Beverlee Caraway, as she scored a game-high 18 points while connecting on four shots from downtown. She also led all players with five steals. Emily Guerra recorded 11 points while grabbing a game-high 16 caroms, and Sophie Bischoff finalized her evening with six points and 10 boards.

Things looked bleak for Berkeley College in the first quarter, as a red-hot Cannoneer team raced out to leads of 13-4 and 20-6 while controlling the tempo. The second quarter was all Knights, though, as Berkeley used an 8-0 run over the opening three minutes of the second session to grab a 24-22 edge. The teams entered the locker room with the game tied at 28 apiece.

The Knights owned the third quarter as well, holding Pratt Institute to just two converted field goals in the session, as Berkeley outscored the Cannoneers by a count of 19-6 while converting on 47.1 percent of their shots in the period (8-17). After 30 minutes of plan, Berkeley held a commanding 47-34 advantage.

Pratt Institute nearly completed an incredible fourth quarter comeback, pulling to within two points, 55-53, thanks to a converted three-point basket by Caraway with just 1:10 remaining in the contest. After a pair of misfired free throws by Berkeley's Lofton with 27 ticks left, Cannoneers player Anna Seminara snatched the rebound. She would swing a pass over to Bischoff, who attempted a potential go-ahead three pointer with 18 seconds left, but the shot was off the mark, and rebounded by Washington.

From there, Berkeley converted on three of its four attempts from the charity stripe, and Pratt Institute was unable to score again, as the Knights held on for a five-point victory.

The Knights didn't shoot particularly well tonight, hitting on just 29.9 percent of their attempts (23-77), and only nine of their 21 shots from the line (42.9 percent). On the flip side, Pratt hit on 30.3 percent of its attempts (20-66), while hitting eight of 12 free throws (66.7 percent). Berkeley dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Cannoneers 64-49, and the Knights won the turnover battle slightly, committing 22 mistakes while forcing 24 Pratt errors.

Berkeley will look to get over the .500 mark for the first time since March 6, 2015, as the Knights will welcome Bryant & Stratton-Syracuse to Manhattan on Saturday afternoon. Berkeley's home opener will take place at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, with start-time scheduled for 12:00pm.