Moon Township, Pa. – Colonial history happened as the Robert Morris women’s basketball squad claimed their 25th triumph of the season Thursday in their 74-44 win over the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds (13-18, 8-10 NEC) in the Northeast Conference semifinals at the North Athletic Complex.
With achieving the most victories in a single season, RMU (25-6, 16-2 NEC) proceeds to their fifth successive NEC Championship match as their defense pushed the Blackbirds of LIU to commit 22 turnovers, including 14 in the first half which led to 16 points. The earlier mark was 24-8 during the 2006-2007 campaign.
Head coach, Charlie Buscaglia’s company, assaulted the score sheet with a 10-0 run in the opening quarter and a 13-0 run in the second as the Blue, White, and Red arrived at half-time with 40-20 advantage. Sophomore center Nneka Ezeigbo furnished offense off the bench with 12 points and two steals.
Megan Callahan, a freshman guard, recorded 10 points over the first 20 minutes and went 2-for-3 in three-point attempts. Senior forward Jocelynne Jones tallied three rebounds, three assists, and four steals to go with her four points. The Colonials connected on 24 of their 40 points in the first half in the paint.
Robert Morris did not take their foot off the accelerator in the third as they kept the Blackbirds grounded with a 24-11 performance in the third. Freshman guard Honoka Ikematsu came through with two three-pointers in the third while senior center Mikalah Mulrain added four and Nina Augustin, a freshman guard, delivered three points.
LIU’s best effort came in the fourth quarter as they put up a 13-10 edge in the box score, but it was not going to be enough to overcome the deficit they were facing. Denisha Petty-Evans, a graduate student, and starting guard collected five of her 14 points in the last frame.
For the Colonials, Ezeigbo wrapped up the evening with 21 points and five rebounds while Callahan supplied 16 points. Jones equaled her season best with five steals. Mulrain blocked a shot late in the third which allowed her to tie the program record of 169 by Anna Gailite from 2009-2013. Augustin registered six of RMU’s 11 points on free throws.
Buscaglia commented on the team’s web page, “It’s funny because it’s such a known saying, but we really take everything one game at a time. We received some awards and stuff that we talked about before – and that’s great – but we just stay in the moment about what the next challenge is. It’s great to have that success and be able to accomplish such a feat, but we’re only concerned about the next game.”
Omari Sankofa II of the Post-Gazette talked with Ezeigbo about the contest, “We felt like we didn’t play for the full 40 [minutes], so our goal was to come out today and play for the full 40. We just focused on each possession and whatever came, came. We just kept playing.”
From RMU Athletics On YouTube.com – Post Game: Megan Callahan, Nneka Ezeigbo and Charlie Buscaglia…
RMU Stat Line Of The Game: The Colonials’ bench erupted for 32 points to the Blackbirds’ 11 points by their reserves.
RMU Musket Shots: Robert Morris had seven second-chance points to LIU’s zero. RMU also won the battle of the boards 32-21.
Blackbirds’ freshman guard Jeydah Johnson joined Petty-Evans in double figures with 10 points. Seneca Richards, a sophomore guard, came close to double digits with nine points. Junior forward Destoni Willock contributed five rebounds.
Stephanie Del Preore, in her third season as LIU head coach, saw her crew tie their tenth-best shooting percentage of the season at 38.2 percent.
From RMU Athletics On YouTube.com – Post Game – LIU Stephanie Del Preore and Denisha Petty-Evans…
Next Up: RMU heads to Degol Arena in Loretto, PA on Sunday, March 11 to battle NEC regular-season co-champion Saint Francis University (23-9, 16-2 NEC). The Colonials and Red Flash split their two-game regular-season series. The combatants captured victory on their home floor. The championship matchup starts at 2:00 p.m. You can catch every layup on ESPNU.
From The Clipboard: Robert Morris could become the third program in the history of NEC to claim three straight conference championships. The Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers did it from 1992 to 1995. The Red Flash accomplished it twice from 1995-2000, and from 2001-2005.
Top Video From RMU Athletics On YouTube.com – 03/08/2018 RMU Vs. LIU – NEC Tournament Semifinals…