NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Iona College women’s basketball senior guard Damika Martinez became the leading scorer in program history, connecting on a three pointer with 19:06 remaining in the first half of the Gaels’ 82-80 loss to Sacred Heart Sunday afternoon at the Hynes Athletics Center. Martinez finished the contest with a game-high 37 points, pushing her career total to 1,930, and quickly distancing herself from the 1,894 points scored by former record holder Maggie Timoney.
Junior forward Joy Adams scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for her 45th career double-double. On Adams’ three-pointer, the 18th of her career, with 52 seconds left in the first half, she became the 24th player in program history to reach the 1,000 point mark.
The Maroon & Gold was done in by standout long-range shooting by the Pioneers, who connected on 12 three-pointers in the game. Eight different players recorded points for Sacred Heart, including five in double-figures.
The seesaw battle between the Gaels and the Pioneers included seven ties and 16 lead changes. After the visitors grabbed an early 6-5 lead with 18:05 remaining in the first, a 13-2 run by Iona pushed the Gaels ahead 18-8 with 13:46 left in the period.
After Sacred Heart trimmed the deficit to six, 26-20, the Maroon & Gold once again responded by scoring nine of the game’s next 11 points. A pair of free throws by junior guard Aaliyah Robinson gave the Gaels a 35-22 advantage with 5:12 left in the half.
The Pioneers stormed back with a 16-2 run, pulling ahead 38-37 on a jumper by Lerae Ettienne with 1:07 remaining. Adams’ three in the final minute gave Iona a 40-38 halftime advantage.
Iona held the lead for the beginning of the second half, before a three by Sacred Heart’s Kelcey Castro put the visitors ahead 49-48 with 15:08 left. The teams traded leads for the next 12-plus minutes, before a free throw by Martinez gave the Gaels their biggest lead of the stanza, 77-72, with 2:18 remaining.
A three by Adaysha Williams quickly put the Pioneers within two, before a jumper by Hannah Kimmel evened the score at 77. A layup by Ettienne and free throws by Williams allowed Sacred Heart to open its lead to four, 81-77.
Martinez put the Gaels within one with a three with seven seconds remaining, before another Williams free throw sealed the contest for the Pioneers. Kimmel, Williams, Castro and Shelby Hickey all finished with 14 points for Sacred Heart, while Ettienne scored 12 points and pulled down a team-high nine boards.
The Gaels are back in action Tuesday evening, when travel to Bowling Green for a 7:00 pm tip.