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Maggie Dixon Classic: Rowland powers Queens in historic rematch

Just the Facts, Ma'am: 28 points from Madison Rowland powered Queens College to a 76-60 win over Immaculata in the opening game of the Maggie Dixon Classic. Rowland added 11 rebounds and six steals. MacKenzie Rowland and Imani Davidson each had 13 for the Knights. Sara Smith led Immaculata with 15 points; the Mighty Macs got 14 bench points from Reilly Larkin and 13 points from Adriana Sciascia. For nuns, school pride, the awesomeness of history, snazzy passes, bad logistics, and it being entirely too early for this sort of thing, join your intrepid and intrigued blogger after the jump.

Photo by Ray Floriani.

Good morning, loyal readers! We're coming to you in Surround Sound from the World's Most Famous Arena, as the Maggie Dixon Classic tips off with a historic rematch of Immaculata and Queens College. Queens leads 25-24 at the half. Immaculata scored first in the second, but Queens answered with six quick points.

Halftime featured a ceremony honoring the players in the original game, most of whom were from Queens. (I assume the Immaculata alumnae were occupied.) Donna Orender looks a lot happier without the stress of being WNBA president. Gail Marquis is rocking the QC colors.

There will never be anything not awesome about dancing nuns in college sweatshirts.

Crowning moment of awesome team pride: Queens College had a little video with Gail Marquis starting the "GO QC!" chant. Cut to real life... where she's leading the QC student section in the continuation.

Good anthem from one of the Queens College cheerleaders.

Scrappy defense from both teams. Queens has more talent, but is more prone to dumb mistakes.

Immaculata fought back in the second half, but every time they made a run, Queens made a longer run.

Emily Bell brought the second half pain as a substitute for Brittany Merkle. Reilly Larkin showed a knack for getting to the line and came up with a couple of big threes when Immaculata was making their runs. Samantha Bonvetti and Jacquelyn McClellan were late entrants, when the game was well past decided. Meghan Gallagher was somewhat more of a factor in the first half than the second, due to some Immaculata foul trouble, but wasn't much of a scorer. I get the feeling I should remember more about Lindsay Cras, but while she played a lot she wasn't much of a factor.

Brittany Merkle set a lot of good picks, but also committed a lot of fouls. I thought Immaculata took too many risks with her in the second half, and she did eventually foul out. I would have been a lot more cautious with her. Alison Zimny mixed it up a little inside and showed a little touch on the outside. Mackie Fitzgerald was tough- pulled down a big board in the first half and started getting more aggressive near the end of the game. Sara Smith took over for the Mighty Macs in the second half, hitting jumpers and driving the lane. Adriana Sciascia impressed early with her shot, but faded later in the game.

Immaculata had a lot of shooters, and a lot of players who were willing to take the deep shot, but for me, the most impressive thing about them was the hustle and all of their willingness and desire to go for a ball on the floor.

Joya McFarland saved her best for the second half, when she dropped two slick dimes pretty much back to back, one to Amber Harrison, one to Kristin Korzevinski. Elisabeth Gully was last off the bench, and her teammates looked like they would have gone nuts if she had gotten the basket, but they were pretty happy when she hit the second free throw. Amber Harrison brought a little offensive punch off the bench, including what might have been the highlight reel shot of the game, a little spinner off a lookaway from McFarland. Joya McFarland is not to be confused with Janeen McFarlane, who gave good minutes on the inside. Raychel Shannon kept a lot of plays alive. Melissa Fumano came in near the end and made no measurable impact.

Madison Rowland is really impressive. She's got good size and she uses it well. Her fundamentals are a little shaky, and I hope the coaching staff works on that with her. But as she is right now, she's already making an impact. She had a big block in the first half, along with an especially strong putback. MacKenzie Rowland was strong in the first half, especially on the inside. Imani Davidson came up with some nice shots, but was clumsy with the ball. Kristin Korzevinski started getting lay-ups in the second half- there was a stretch in the second half where Queens suddenly flashed phenomenal ball movement, with crisp passes leading to easy shots on the inside. It didn't last, but it was beautiful while it did. Taylor Miller made some plays in the second half.

Queens made a lot more stupid mistakes- but they were able to force turnovers from a less skilled Immaculata squad, and used their greater height to their advantage.

I expected nothing from the officiating, and was not disappointed.

Lots of people there for both teams, and I loved it. There's something subconsciously dissonant about nuns wearing college sweatshirts with their coifs, but it's a good kind of dissonance. (After the second game, I saw some of them being taken on a tour of the Garden. Strangely adorable.)