WRITTEN BY BRYAN FONSECA
On the heels of a stunning 58-57 win over the first place Bryant Bulldogs, the St. Francis Terriers women’s basketball team (6-19, 3-11 NEC) is looking to ride the victory wave into Moon Township, Pennsylvania where they’ll face the Robert Morris Colonials (14-11, 8-6 NEC).
This game marks the first time the Terriers have been at Robert Morris since winning their first-ever 2015 Northeast Conference Championship over the Colonials last March. In their first and only encounter so far this season, the Colonials emerged with a 62-53 win over the Terriers in Brooklyn Heights.
On that January 9 encounter, Rebecca Navarro, who netted a team-high 14 points, led the Colonials in scoring. Megan Smith, who finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists, also uplifted the Colonials.
The Terriers were on the losing end of the action in spite of a 19-point, 11-rebound performance from standout guard Leah Fechko.
That victory marked the Colonials third-straight win in as many contests to kick-off NEC play. In their last eight games, the Colonials have only picked-up three victories, and they also come into this match-up with the Terriers having suffered back-to-back losses to Fairleigh Dickinson (60-52) and Sacred Heart (62-52) respectively.
After sandwiching a 20-point blowout win over the rival LIU-Brooklyn Blackbirds in between 10 NEC losses, the Terriers have bounced back to win two of their last three games heading into Robert Morris. Their loss in this stretch came in the official 2016 Battle of Brooklyn against LIU, losing 65-62 in overtime.
Five days prior, on February 8, the Terriers exploded for 88 points of offense to defeat Fairleigh Dickinson by 10. The aforementioned victory over Bryant came seven days after the win over FDU.
The Colonials enter the game with the NEC’s best scoring defense, smothering the opposition and only allowing 59.6 points per contest. This makes RMU the only team in the conference that allows under 60 points per game.
The Colonials are also tops in scoring margin (+4.1), field goal defense (37.6%), and three-point field goal defense (27.7%).
The Terriers currently put forth the league’s best free throw shooting team, knocking down (76.9%) from the line.
Fechko continues to be the standout for the Terriers, and has also been one of the best players in the entire conference. She currently ranks seventh in scoring (14.5 points per game), third in rebounds (8.9), third in assists (3.6), sixth in free throw percentage (84.8%), and first in steals (2.6).
In the win over Bryant, the Terriers were led by Blair Arthur, who scored a team-high 12 points.
A Niki Stamolaprou enters as Robert Morris’ leading scorer, and she currently ranks eighth in NEC points per game with 13.6. She also has dished out 3.3 assists per game, which places her eighth amongst NEC leaders.
The 2015 championship rematch will go live at 1 p.m. on NEC Front Row on Saturday afternoon to tip-off a St. Francis vs. Robert Morris doubleheader, as the men’s teams will follow for a 4 p.m. showdown in Moon Township.