WRITTEN BY NICOLAS FERNANDES
Junior forward Alex Delaney recorded a career-high 19 points, while several of her teammates assisted with high scoring in the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers women’s basketball team’s 87-78 home opener victory over the Monmouth Hawks Wednesday night.
Both teams stand at (1-1) as a result of the game.
Terriers Head Coach John Thurston believes his team’s 44 rebounds were the main reason behind their success.
“I think we rebounded well and made key passes and key plays at the right time,” Thurston said in a post-game interview.
The score stayed close for most of the first quarter, as both teams were back and forth with leading and tied at several points.
After Hawks freshman guard Alaina Jarnot’s layup broke the 7-7 tie with 3:34 remaining in the first quarter, her teammates quickly followed up with some good shots that gave them a 19-11 lead.
Strong defense by the Terriers and points added by Delaney, senior guard Rachel Iozzia and sophomore forward Tori Wagner in the last minute and a half put the Terriers one point behind the visiting team — trailing 19-18 at the quarter’s end.
The final points of the quarter came from Delaney’s buzzer beater three-pointer.
“I think it just comes naturally,” Delaney told SFC Today. “As you get older you start to get more comfortable out there so you know where you need to get your shots from.”
Sophomore guard Kat Phipps put the Terriers in a lead that lasted until the end of the third quarter with a jumper 13 seconds into the second.
After leading 20-19, the Terriers gained more points with shots from Delaney, sophomore forward Maria Palarino and senior guard Olivia Levey, causing as much as a seven-point scoring gap.
“When it counted we made some great plays,” Delaney said. “We forced them to get into rotation, we found the open player, we found easy shots, we got to the line, so I think that really made a difference down the stretch.”
Hawks senior guards Tyese Purvis and Helena Kurt, as well as freshman guard Kayla Shaw, made a couple of successful field goals about halfway through the second quarter and led their team to trail the Terriers by one point.
“They pressed us the whole game so we kind of just had to stay calm,” Levey told SFC Today.
Points from Levey and freshman guard Jade Johnson put the Hawks behind again. The Hawks were able to score some fast points as halftime approached, but the home team only let them as far as a three-point trail before the second quarter concluded.
The Terries led 42-38 at halftime.
The Terriers continued their quick scoring after returning from halftime. Their opponent was able to keep up, but the Terriers made sure they didn’t get close for a while.
The visitors started to edge them later on in the quarter and a three-pointer by Jarnot brought them a point above the Terriers. Johnson followed up with a three-pointer for the Terriers within 20 seconds and her team stayed in the lead for the rest of the game.
“I knew we had the chance to win against this team, so I’m not surprised that we won, but we worked really hard and did what we had to do,” Palarino said.
Levey brought up the fact that the team fell to the Hawks 63-54 last season — when they had senior star Leah Fechko.
The 6’0 guard explained that having no star player this season is an advantage because it encourages the team to work together more and gives anyone the opportunity to make a big play.
“We’re playing more cohesive as a team and it’s not just one star,” Levey told SFC Today. “We’re all playing together and everyone just has a role.”
Delaney’s new personal record was achieved by shooting 4-for-7 (57.1%) from the field, 3-for-5 (60%) from behind the arc and 8-for-10 (80%) from the free throw line. The 6’0 forward’s record was accompanied by six assists and six rebounds.
Levey scored 17 points on 7-for-17 (41.2%) field shooting, while also recording four rebounds and one assist.
Johnson netted 12 points on nearly perfect shooting, despite one missed field goal. The freshman Australia native also added three rebounds and one assist.
11 points came from Palarino on 3-for-5 (60%) shooting from the field and 5-for-7 (71.4%) free throw attempts. The 5’10 sophomore also dished out a career-high 18 rebounds.
Phipps contributed nine points, five rebounds and two assists, while senior guard Rachel Iozzia – who was placed as a point guard without practicing the position – grabbed another eight points, six rebounds and five assists.
“That’s what you get from senior leadership,” Thurston said. “She steadies us down.”
Freshman guard Rosa Graham led the Hawks with 19 points and six assists. Purvis and Shaw contributed 14 points each. Shaw also added two rebounds.
Jarnot netted ten points in addition to recording two rebounds and one assist.
The Terriers will travel to Baltimore, MD Saturday to take on the Loyola Greyhounds.