WRITTEN BY BRYAN FONSECA
The 23rd Annual Battle of Brooklyn is set for tip-off, as the St. Francis Terriers women’s basketball team (5-18, 2-10 NEC) will look to make it two straight against the rival LIU-Brooklyn Blackbirds (7-6, 5-7 NEC) on a Saturday afternoon.
Last timeout, the Terriers snapped a four-game losing streak with a big-time performance against the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights, winning 88-78 at home. In the victory, senior guard Leah Fechko, who netted 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the game, led the Terriers.
The Terriers also received key showings from forwards Maria Palarino, and Alex Delaney. The freshman Palarino put up 14 points, eight rebounds and five assists, while Delaney racked up 18 points and grabbed seven boards.
After a big home win against Mount St. Mary’s, LIU-Brooklyn went down to the Sacred Heart Pioneers in their most recent match-up, 71-47. In the loss, the Blackbirds were led by guard Shanovia Dove, who scored 16 points, and forward Jolanna Ford, who finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
The Terriers started off NEC play with six straight losses, a streak which was snapped in a dominant 71-51 win over LIU-Brooklyn in the only game to date between the two rivals in the 2015-16 season. This game was played at LIU-Brooklyn’s Steinberg Wellness Center in the midst of last month’s Winter Storm Jonas.
In the victory, it was Fechko again who put forth the big game, finishing with 21 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Forward Olivia Levey also made her mark in the contest, accumulating 14 points and seven rebounds in only 22 minutes of action.
Stylz Sanders, Brianna Farris and Shanice Vaughan combined for 39 of LIU-Brooklyn’s 51 points in the January 23 defeat.
In the all-time series between the two-teams, the Blackbirds have been largely in control, winning 47-of-74 games against the Terriers. However, the Terriers have won each of the last seven contests between the two inner-borough combatants, dating back to 2012-2013.
This season, Fechko has been stellar for the Terriers, ranking near the top of several stat categories amongst NEC leaders.
Fechko currently ranks sixth in scoring (14.9 points per game), third in rebounds (9.2), third in assists (3.7), sixth in free throw percentage (84.8%), and first in steals (2.6).
Dove and Vaughan enter the game as the leading scorers for the Blackbirds with 12.7 and 12.1 points per game respectively, and they also place 11th and 12th in the NEC.
The Saturday matinee and annual Battle of Brooklyn will tip at 1 p.m. on NEC Front Row.