Thursday, January 31, 2013

STOP #5: Pope Physical Education Center, Brooklyn Heights, NY
Saturday, February 2, 2013 – 2pm

St. Francis Red Flash (11-8, 6-2) at St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers (7-12, 4-4)

In a "Battle of the Franciscans," St. Francis Brooklyn College tangles with St. Francis University on Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn Heights, NY. It will mark the 52nd all time meeting. This will be one of two games on the NEC Saturday schedule featuring both teams at .500 or better. The Red Flash are currently 6-2 in conference play, and sit at second place in the league standings. The Terriers are 4-4, good for seventh place. If the season ended today, the St. Francis schools would meet in the first round of the NEC Tournament. SFU has appeared in the post-season each of the last four years, making three title game appearances, and winning two championships. The Terriers are looking to make the post-season for the first time since 2008.



The Red Flash lead the all-time series 38-13, and have won the last seven straight meetings. In fact, SFU has won their last 13 consecutive games against the NEC’s two Brooklyn-based schools combined. The Terriers will look for their first victory over the Red Flash since a February 18, 2008 win in Brooklyn. Last season, in their lone meeting, the Flash defeated the Terriers 60-51 in western PA. The schools have twice squared off in the NEC Tournament, meeting in the 1999 and 2005 quarter-final round. Both playoff encounters resulted in Red Flash wins, en route to eventual tournament titles. One interesting tie between the two schools is longtime SFC assistant coach Dionne Dodson. Dodson originally started her coaching career in Loretto, working on the staff of Myndi Hill from 1999-2002. During her time with the Red Flash, the program won two NEC Tournament titles and participated in the NCAA Tournament. Another interesting nugget is that SFU freshman Brooklyn Taylor will play her first collegiate basketball game in the city that shares her name. Taylor, hailing from Greenville, PA, has averaged 4.5 points in eight conference contests so far this year. Finally, as far as who holds bragging rights in the “St. Francis” name department, St. Francis-Brooklyn College was first established in 1859, which came twelve years after St. Francis University was founded in 1847.


The St. Francis Red Flash are the most accomplished program in NEC Women’s Basketball history. NEC championship record books read almost like their own personal media guide. The Red Flash have taken home a record 11 tournament titles, including back to back championships in 2010 and 2011. Last season, two of their key players (Shene Fleming and 2011 NEC tournament MVP Brittany Lilly) went down before the year even started due to injury. SFU would end up finishing tied for fourth place in the standings and bowing out in the quarter-final round against their arch-nemesis, Robert Morris.

In the off-season, Susan Robinson-Fruchtl left SFU to become new head coach of the Providence Friars. Longtime top assistant Joe Haigh was called upon to slide a few chairs down the bench to the head coach's spot, getting promoted to become the seventh head coach in program history. The Notre Dame alum also became the first male coach called upon to lead the Red Flash. Haigh had served on Fruchtl’s staff for the previous four years, so his hire allowed for a sense of familiarity and stability to stay with the program. In 2012-13, Haigh has led the Red Flash to four more victories than this point last year and his squad is also averaging over four points per night better. Coach Haigh and his wife Sherri are both Notre Dame alums. Sherri (Orlosky) played four seasons for the Irish basketball team under legendary coach Muffet McGraw. The Red Flash visited South Bend for a non-conference contest back on New Year’s Eve, with the Irish coming away with a 128-55 victory.


With the 2013 conference season just about at the halfway point, Red Flash junior Alli Williams may very well be at the top of the list for NEC Player of the Year candidates. Williams currently paces all NEC scorers with a 19.3 point per game average, and ranks fourth in rebounding with a 10.9 average. In league play, Williams is the only player averaging over 20 points, coming in at 21.9. Along with Artemis Spanou, Naana Ankoma-Mensa, and Erika Livermore, Williams is a member of a select group of NEC WBB student-athletes currently averaging a double-double.

Over the course of the season, Williams passed the 1,000 career point, 600 rebound, and 200 steal marks. She joins NEC Hall of Famers Beth Swink and Jess Zinobile as the lone players in program history to get over 1,000 points, 600 rebounds, and 200 steals in their career. Williams is 15th on the Red Flash all-time scoring list, just eight points behind current SFU Director of Basketball Operations, Allison Daly. Entering this season, Alli Williams only had 14 career double-doubles. Through 19 games, she has recorded 13 this year alone, and counting.

For her efforts this past week, Williams took home her fourth NEC Player of the Week award, averaging 13.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 3.5 steals. She helped end St. Francis’ two game losing streak with back to back wins against Wagner and Robert Morris.


One year ago, Leah Fechko was a team captain for the Twinsburg (OH) High School Tigers. On February 8, 2012, Fechko recorded one of the best performances of her high school career, with a 20 point, 10 rebound, 6 assist, and 6 steal showing. The game was against Stow-Munroe Falls, and it fell on Fechko's senior night. Now a week shy of one year later, Fechko is displaying the same type of confidence she had on that particular evening, at the collegiate level. The Terrier freshman has taken home the last two NEC Rookie of the Week awards. Fechko is averaging 12.8 points and 7.8 rebounds over her last four games. Last weekend against the Blue Devils, Fechko recorded her first career double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Two nights later against the Blackbirds, she would take home the prestigious “Battle of Brooklyn” MVP award with a career high 18 points, along with pulling down nine rebounds. She is the first freshman in a decade to win MVP honors in the annual matchup between inter-borough rivals.


This marks the third time this season I will have the opportunity to see the Terriers play in person. Both previous times I came away commenting how much of an admirer I was with the way they play defense. They challenge everything, never give up on a play, hustle after every loose ball, and perhaps most importantly, communicate and work together as a team. The Terriers boast the second best scoring defense in the NEC, allowing just 59.5 points per game. SFC also stands fifth in field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot 37.4%. St. Francis has also forced their opponents to commit 15 or more turnovers in five of the last seven games. SFC’s gritty defense will surely be tested on Saturday afternoon, as the Red Flash come to town standing second in the NEC in scoring, averaging 65.9 points per game.


St. Francis Brooklyn has recorded at least one made three pointer in 221 straight games. The last time the Terriers failed to convert a three was in a 2005 game against Lafayette. SFC is second in the NEC in three pointers made and three point field goal percentage. Sarah Benedetti leads the NEC individually with 56 made threes…A win on Saturday would give SFC their eighth overall and fifth conference win of the season, their most since finishing the 2008 campaign with a 10-20, 7-11 record under Brenda Milano…A win would give SFC just their 10th season of at least five wins in NEC play in program history…The Red Flash had started the same five players for the first 18 games of the season. The first change to the starting unit was made last Monday night when Rebecca Keegan replaced the injured Nickia Gibbs…Alexa Heyward recorded seven three’s on Monday night against Robert Morris, one shy of matching the program record. Her seven trifecta's were the most since Allison Daly’s eight against Robert Morris in the 2010 NEC Tournament semi-finals... Last year against SFC, Heyward led all scorers with 19 points.


In the 20th annual “Battle of Brooklyn,” the St. Francis-Brooklyn Terriers defeated their inter-borough rivals, LIU-Brooklyn, 69-58. The Terriers snapped a four year losing streak in the annual game. The last St. Francis win in the Battle of Brooklyn game came back in January 2009, with Kara Ayers being named MVP.

On this evening, the Terriers led wire to wire, leading by as many as 23 points in the first half. The Terriers were able to utilize a 21-2 run midway through the first half, holding the Blackbirds to just one field goal over a span of nine minutes, to pull away. The SFC lead would not go back under double-digits for the remainder of the contest. The reigning two-time NEC rookie of the week, Leah Fechko, was named the Battle of Brooklyn Most Valuable Player. Fechko netted a career high with 18 points and nine rebounds. Sarah Benedetti, Jessica Kaufman, and Eilidh Simpson also finished in double figures scoring for SFC.

As for the Red Flash, they managed to end a three game losing streak against their rivals from Moon Township, recording a 72-63 victory over Robert Morris on Monday night. Sophomore Alexa Heyward, who grew up just about 20 minutes from the Colonials campus, was on fire shooting the basketball. The Beaver Falls, PA native netted a career high 28 points, including five three pointers in the first half and seven overall for the game. The seven overall threes were one shy of a program single game record.

In a rare occurrence, Alli Williams was held scoreless through the game’s first 29:20 of regulation. In the second half, with the defense extending out to try and defend Heyward, it opened things up for Williams to do some damage. Williams scored all 21 of her points in the final 10:40. With the Red Flash holding on to a one point lead with less than three minutes to go, Williams would lead a 12-4 SFU run to clinch the victory. She would score 10 of the final 14 Red Flash points. In addition, the Altoona native would record her 13th double-double of the year, bringing down 11 rebounds to go with her 21 points. For the Colonials, Artemis Spanou would record another monster game with 21 points and 20 rebounds in the losing effort.


The St. Francis showdown in Brooklyn is one of two games on the NEC Saturday slate that features a pair of teams both at .500 or better. The other game is down in Emmitsburg, MD where the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers host the Sacred Heart Pioneers. Both teams sit at 5-3 in the conference standings, and are currently in a four team logjam for third place. This will be the lone meeting between the two schools in the regular season, putting the utmost importance on victory due to possible tiebreaker implications down the road.

On the other side of the borough, LIU-Brooklyn will host Robert Morris at noon in front of a national audience on ESPN3. At the moment, both schools are sitting on the outside looking in of the top eight in the NEC standings.

Elsewhere, the Bobcats will look to improve to 9-0 in conference play when they visit the Wagner Seahawks. With a win, the Bobcats would be the fifth team in the last 11 years to start a season 9-0 vs. the NEC. In the Garden State, the Monmouth Hawks will welcome in the Bryant Bulldogs to West Long Branch, and the FDU Knights will match up with the CCSU Blue Devils.  
Saturday’s action will mark the ninth game of the conference season, the halfway point of the 2013 NEC schedule. I’ll hand out some mid-season awards to go with the usual post-game recap of the SFU/SFC game here on the NEC WBB Road Trip Blog.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

STOP #4: QU 66, FDU 39

STOP #4: TD Bank Sports Center, Hamden, CT
Saturday, January 26, 2013 - 2:30pm

QUINNIPIAC BOBCATS 66 (16-2, 7-0), FDU KNIGHTS 39 (8-10, 3-4) 


Off to their best start in program history, and the lone remaining unbeaten team left in the NEC women’s basketball standings, the Quinnipiac Bobcats continued their dominating run with a 66-39 victory over the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights. The contest was played in front of the NEC-TV cameras and a pink-attired crowd on the Bobcats “Play 4-Kay” day.

Prior to the game even starting, Knights coach Pete Cinella made an interesting move with his starting lineup. Cinella started sophomore guard Tiffany Grant for the first time all season, while having the team’s leading scorer (and the fifth best scorer in the NEC) Danielle Pankey, come off the bench. Pankey had averaged 17 points per game over her last 13, but really struggled last weekend against the NEC’s Brooklyn institutions. Pankey had shot 3 for 16 from the field in each game. Dave Popkin, who was covering the game on the sidelines for NEC-TV, reported that the move was made to try and find a change-of-pace on offense. With Pankey coming off two tough games, Cinella hoped that Grant could give a boost to the offense by starting and that Pankey could work out her struggles in a new role. That plan didn’t exactly work. Pankey entered the game about eight minutes in, and never really got into a rhythm. She would end up playing 19 minutes, but going 0 for 4 from the field with no points recorded on the afternoon. Grant would play 14 minutes, going 0 for 4 with no points.

Meanwhile, both teams had trouble shooting the basketball early on in the first half. At the 10 minute mark the Knights were shooting 5 for 19 and 0 for 7 from three, while the Bobcats were just a hair better at 6 for 17. The Knights were down 16-10, and just when it seemed QU was about to break away, FDU charged back with a 15-5 run to go up 25-21. However, it would be the Bobcats who would have the last word going into intermission. QU would execute a 10-1 run, capped off by a Jasmine Martin ‘NBA range’ three pointer in the final 10 seconds of the half.

Despite their struggles, the Knights were able to keep pace with the Bobcats in the game’s first 20 minutes, only trailing 31-26 at the break. But that was about to change. On this day, Quinnipiac would come out and record one of the most dominant halves of basketball I can ever remember seeing in person. The Knights were held to 16.7% shooting (4-24), and were outscored 35-13 in the second half. The most remarkable statistic was that the Knights were shutout on the scoreboard from the 10:09 mark, all the way until Erika Livermore converted a layup with 1:35 remaining in regulation. It ended up being a Quinnipiac 15-0 run that spanned 8 minutes and 34 seconds.

On offense for the Bobcats, Felicia Barron gets a ton of attention, being a senior and a career 1,000 point scorer. Brittany McQuain gets a lot of attention as well, with her being a double-double threat night in and night out. However, I think starting right now, let’s make it known that Jasmine Martin is perhaps the most dangerous scorer on the Quinnipiac roster. The sophomore guard should be under-the-radar no more. On the afternoon, Martin recorded a game high 16 points, her 13th straight game in double figures scoring. She’s also moved up into the top 10 in the NEC in scoring average with 13.4 points per game on the season.

Camryn Warner was also fantastic on the afternoon. Warner was a starter last season, however this year came off the bench for the first two months, until teammate Samantha Guastella went down with an injury. Warner has made a seamless transition back into the starting lineup, averaging 9.4 points and 5.8 rebounds over her last five games. All season, Warner hadn’t recorded a game in double figures points or rebounds, but on this afternoon she would do both. The Bobcat junior recorded her second career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds against the Knights.

For the second straight week, Fairleigh Dickinson had trouble getting the ball inside to Livermore. The FDU sophomore only saw a handful of opportunities, but did manage to record her 15th double-double of the year with 10 points and rebounds.

Plain and simple, the Knights could just not score the basketball on the afternoon. Their top four scorers, who combined average 42 points on the season, only combined to score 19. FDU also committed 25 turnovers, which directly resulted in 29 Bobcat points. If a team is going to upset Quinnipiac this year, keeping possession has to be one of the top keys. The Bobcats feast off turnovers, and are not going to be defeated if their opponents are handing them over the basketball 25 times a night.

One thing that’s telling about Quinnipiac is that despite their large lead, they didn’t coast to the finish line. They played the game hard for all 40 minutes. In the final minute of regulation they still had players diving on the ground for loose balls and Coach Fabbri was still shouting instructions from the sideline just like it was a tied game.

Let’s face it, the Bobcats know that they are pretty good. And for them, this season is all about a championship. But one of the toughest things to do, in any sport, when you have a really good team, is to stay focused and motivated through the ‘dog days’ of a long regular season. No matter how good a team is, unfortunately you can’t just take a time machine and fast forward to the NEC Championship Game. Dave Popkin and Matt Harmon, who were covering the game for NEC-TV, saw the Bobcats in their morning shootaround. Both commented about how focused it was, and how it almost seemed like a regular practice. For Coach Fabbri and Quinnipiac the ability to keep that same focus, intensity, and drive, whether it’s a practice, a walk through, or a game that has a 25 point margin on the scoreboard in the final moments a fantastic sign…one of the true signs of a champion.  

The Bobcats stay unbeaten in NEC play, moving to 7-0, equaling their conference record that start their 2008 regular season championship season. On the horizon is a matchup Monday night with the 5-2 CCSU Blue Devils. On the other side, FDU has dropped four out of their last five games. The Knights are tied for seventh in the NEC standings at 3-4. Fairleigh Dickinson is about to enter a crucial 5 game stretch of their schedule, which should go a long way in determining whether or not they will be able to make a playoff push. It starts with a Garden State grudge match at Monmouth on Monday, followed by home games against CCSU, Bryant, Monmouth, and then a game at Sacred Heart.


Box Score


1. Camryn Warner, QU – 15 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks, 29 minutes

2. Jasmine Martin, QU – 16 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals, 27 minutes

3. Felicia Barron, QU - 10 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 28 minutes


I arrived at the TD Bank Sports Center in time for the finish to the men’s game, which took place prior to the women’s basketball contest. The Bobcat men managed to hold on for a 58-56 victory over FDU. With seconds left, Jamee Jackson came from behind and blocked what would have been a game tying Knights layup. Then after Evan Conti missed the first half of a one and one, Mustafaa Jones unleashed a three quarter court heave that just missed, off of the side of the rim. From there, the excitement continued in the stands through the women’s game as several hundred pink-attired fans sat in attendance for the Bobcats “Play 4-Kay” game. The “Play 4-Kay” is an initiative for schools to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research. For the game the Bobcats wore special pink socks in support of the cause.


SACRED HEART 56, MONMOUTH 42 – It was a rematch of last season’s NEC Championship Game and it ended with the same result, the Pioneers claiming a victory over MU on their home court. SHU was led by sophomore Gaby Washington, who netted 24 points on the afternoon. After a 1-3 start in conference play, Sacred Heart has won three in a row.

CCSU 55, ST. FRANCIS-BROOKLYN 53 – The Blue Devils tied a team D1 record by only allowing 29 points on the day. CCSU also limited the Terriers to just 10 points in the first half. CCSU started the game on an 11-0 run, and didn’t allow St. Francis to score their first points until five and a half minutes in. Jessica Babe led the team in points and rebounds with 13 and nine, respectively. After dropping their first two conference games, Central has won their last five straight.

ST. FRANCIS 80, WAGNER 43 – Three SFU players finished in double figures scoring as the Red Flash improved to 5-2 in NEC play. St. Francis was powered by Alli Williams’ 12th double-double, as she finished with a game high 19 points and 16 rebounds. Nickia Gibbs and Rebecca Keegan netted 10 points each. SFU’s bench scored 38 points, just five fewer than the entire Seahawk team.   

BRYANT 64, LIU-BROOKLYN 49 – Bulldog head coach Mary Burke picked up her 300th career victory as Bryant claimed its second conference win of the win. Naana Ankoma-Mensa led Bryant with another monster game of 14 points and 19 rebounds. LIU led 31-30 at halftime, but were outscored 34-18 in the second half

ROBERT MORRIS 61, MOUNT 59 – In the most thrilling finish of the day, Robert Morris freshman guard Lou Mataly scored the game winning points with 1.9 seconds left to lift the Colonials to victory. In addition to the game winning dramatics, Mataly scored a career high 22 points, with six three pointers. Mount led 59-51 with four minutes remaining, but Bobby Mo would net the game’s final 10 points to clinch the comeback win. So far in seven NEC games, Mount has played in 3 OT contests (going 1-2), and two other games decided by four points or less (going 1-1)


The 2013 NEC season flips the calendar over into February with next weekend’s slate. First, the Blackbirds and the Colonials will meet at the WRAC in Brooklyn in a 3pm game on ESPNU. Elsewhere in Brooklyn, the Terriers will welcome in the red-hot Red Flash in a Battle of the NEC’s St. Francis schools. FDU will look to rebound as they host Central Connecticut State, Monmouth will host the Bryant Bulldogs, Mount will get a visit from the reigning champion, the Sacred Heart Pioneers, and Wagner will be the next in line to challenge the unbeaten Bobcats.  Next Saturday will be the ninth conference game played for all teams, marking the halfway point of the 2013 conference season.

Friday, January 25, 2013

STOP #4: TD Bank Sports Center, Hamden, CT
Saturday, January 26, 2013 – 2:30pm

Fairleigh Dickinson Knights (8-9, 3-3) at Quinnipiac Bobcats (15-2, 6-0)


The Bobcats have dominated the all-time series 21-5. However, the Knights have taken two out of the last three encounters. Last February, in their only meeting, FDU derailed Quinnipiac 74-65 in Hackensack. Erika Livermore recorded a monster double-double, with 23 points and 14 rebounds, in 35 minutes of action off the bench. The Knights made up a 14 point halftime deficit by outscoring QU 50-27 in the second half. In series history, the Bobcats have never lost on their home court to FDU, going a perfect 11-0. On two prior occasions, the Knights and Bobcats have crossed paths in the postseason. In the 2001 first round, second seeded Quinnipiac upended the seventh seeded Knights, 81-73. The second showdown, in 2004, was one of the all time great games in NEC Tournament history. Matched up in the 4-5 game in the quarterfinal round, the Bobcats and Knights would take it to not just one, but two overtimes, with a semi-final berth on the line. Bobcat senior Ashlee Kelly rewrote the record books, recording 38 points and 28 rebounds in the Quinnipiac 80-76 double overtime win.


The Quinnipiac Bobcats come in at 6-0 in NEC play, the lone remaining unblemished team in the conference standings. Over the last 10 seasons, the last remaining conference unbeaten has gone on to achieve mixed results in that year’s postseason.

Five times the last unbeaten has gone on to win that season’s tournament championship, most recently, last year’s Sacred Heart Pioneers. However, twice the last unbeaten has lost in the final, twice has lost in the semis, and once didn’t even win a playoff game, with a loss in the quarterfinal round. The Bobcats, with a win against FDU on Saturday, can equal their 7-0 start to the 2008 season. In that season QU would go on to clinch the regular season title, but fell in the semi-finals to LIU-Brooklyn. It should be noted that in 2008, the quarters and semis were hosted by LIU. While the Bobcats were the higher seed and the regular season champs, they did not hold a home court advantage.


While only one third of the conference schedule has been played, and while there’s still plenty of basketball to go, with the way this year's group of Bobcats have played, it wouldn’t exactly be a stretch to look ahead and have some stats ready regarding some of the elite teams in NEC history.

There have been four “perfect” teams in the previous 26 seasons of NEC women’s basketball (running the table in the conference regular season and NEC playoffs): the inaugural 1987 champion Monmouth Hawks, the 1994 Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers, the 2004 St. Francis Red Flash, and the 2009 Sacred Heart Pioneers.

The ’87 Hawks went 16-0 in the NEC regular season. Their roster was led by three of the top five scorers in program history: Linda Wilson (#1 – 1,947), Michelle Allen (#2 – 1,912), and Sue Shea (#5 – 1,329). It should also be mentioned that the Hawks also ran the table during the 1988 regular season, only to be defeated in the championship game against Robert Morris, 63-60.

The ’94 Mount team went 18-0 and defeated St. Francis in the title match to cap off their perfect year. They were led by NEC Player of the Year, Susie Rowlyk. Ten years later, in 2004, the Red Flash reigned supreme with perhaps their deepest and most talented group out of their eleven championship teams. Beth Swink and Tonjee Ward led the Red Flash to a 70-55 win over Monmouth in the 2004 title game.

Most recently, the Sacred Heart Pioneers went 18-0 in 2009 to join the NEC ‘perfect club.’ This was Callan Taylor’s freshman year. Taylor served as a perfect complement to Kaitlin Sowinski, while Alisa Apo claimed Player of the Year, leading the team in scoring.

The 2012 Bobcats have already completed a strong non-conference showing, including a win over St. John's. In NEC play, they have knocked off the reigning champions and have gone on the road and swept the Pennsylvania road trip, something that’s been a tough task for even the greatest teams to do, over the years . Of the 12 remaining regular season conference games on the Bobcats schedule, six are at home and six are away. ‘On paper’ the toughest stretch seems to be a string of four games starting February 11th at home vs. Monmouth (their only regular season meeting against the team that’s knocked them out of the playoffs the last two years), continuing with home rematches against St. Francis and Robert Morris, and finishing up with a road game at Sacred Heart.


One of the Bobcat strengths coming into the season was their depth, having returned 12 letterwinners and four starters from last season. That depth has already played a major advantage for them so far this the season. Sophomore guard Shaina Earle and sophomore forward Samantha Guastella have both missed time recently due to injuries. Guastella, a Red Bank, NJ native, started the first 13 games of the season before missing the last four. Guestella had been averaging 8.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. In her absence, Camryn Warner has stepped in and rejoined the starting lineup, averaging 8.0 points and 4.5 rebounds in her four starts. Last season, Warner started all 32 games, with perhaps her breakout game coming against Sacred Heart. She was matched up against the eventual Player of the Year Callan Taylor, and held Taylor to just 10 points, while scoring 8 points with 8 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 assists of her own. At the conclusion of last season, Warner’s Keene, NH hometown newspaper wrote a terrific article about her fantastic personality, as well as her drive as a basketball player. The article is definitely worth a look and includes some fine quotes from her, her family, and her coaches.


In her high school days, FDU’s Miah Register was one of the Garden State’s greats. Playing for one of the best teams in the state, Register was a part of a Trenton Catholic team that won two Mercer County titles and the 2011 NJ Tournament of Champions title. In the 2011 state final, Trenton Catholic took down Neptune 54-49 at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford. Register would go off to play college ball in the A-10 at Richmond. However, after starting the first seven games as a freshman, averaging 7.4 points per night, Register transferred. She would go on to return back home to New Jersey, playing for Pete Cinella and the FDU Knights. Register had to sit out the first semester of 2012-13, missing the first nine games of the season. Since her debut in a Knights uniform, Register has looked increasingly comfortable with her new team, averaging six points per contest as one of the first off the bench. Her breakthrough game may have just taken place last Monday when she netted a career high 16 points in only 20 minutes of action, with 13 of those points scored during the first half. The emergence of Register finding her rhythm as of late can only serve as an added boost for the Knights as they continue their push forward toward the postseason. Also of note, her uncle Terrance Baily, is a NEC Hall of Famer. Bailey is Wagner’s all-time leading scorer with 2,591 career points.


Saturday’s game will be Quinnipiac’s “Play 4 Kay” game. The Bobcats will be raising awareness for breast cancer and funds for cancer research...Quinnipiac’s current seven game win streak has moved them up to #10 in the College Insider Top 25 Mid-Major Poll, their highest showing since joining Division 1…Led by guards who are experts at dishing the basketball (Boo Abshire has recorded seven straight games with five or more assists, and has 25 assists to only five turnovers in her last 3 games), and guards who are experts at pickpocketing the basketball (Felicia Barron sits seventh in the nation in steals per game), it's no surprise that Quinnipiac leads the NEC in assist to turnover ratio (16.9 assists to 15.6 turnovers = +1.08)…Sophomore guard Jasmine Martin has scored in double figures 12 straight games since a December 2nd game against Rider. In her last outing, Martin tied her career high with 21 points…Two of the top five scorers in the NEC will be on display in Hamden, CT as Barron (16.2) currently sits 4th in the league while FDU’s Danielle Pankey (16.0) is 5th...Over her last 13 games, Pankey is averaging 17.1 points…While the Knights have been to the NEC Tournament four out of the last five years under Pete Cinella, the program is in a two decade drought since the last time they tasted a post-season victory. FDU’s last NEC Tournament win came in the 1992 NEC Women’s Basketball Championship Game…Despite the lost weekend against the NEC’s Brooklyn based schools last week, one positive the Knights can pull out was their three point shooting. In the two games against SFC and LIU-Brooklyn, FDU shot 16-34 (47.7%) from downtown...This game will air at 2:30pm on FCS and ESPN3 with Matt Harmon and Phyllis Mangina on the call.


The Quinnipiac Bobcats equaled their 15-2 start from their 2008 regular season championship team with an 85-69 victory in Loretto last Monday night against the Red Flash. In the first half, QU forced 22 turnovers, holding the Flash to 37% shooting. Midway through the first half the Bobcats pulled away with an 18-1 run, and were able to bring a 42-25 lead into the locker room for intermission. Things got interesting real fast out of the break, as St. Francis stormed back with a 19-1 run to cut the deficit to as little as five. However QU finished the contest on a 19-9 run to seal the victory 85-69, their first in Loretto since 2007-08. Senior guard Felicia Barron recorded a career high 28 points with seven steals, while Jasmin Martin added 21. The NEC’s leading scorer, Alli Williams, tallied her 12th double-double of the year with 29 points and 13 rebounds.

As for Fairleigh Dickinson, after a 2-0 start in conference play, the Knights have dropped three of their last four and their last two straight. Last Monday, in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee, the Knights were upset at home by the previously winless in-conference LIU-Brooklyn Blackbirds, 70-62. FDU was in the driver’s seat early, but it was the Blackbirds who would hold a 35-34 lead at the break. The Knights would shoot only 30% from the field in the second half. Erika Livermore recorded yet another double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. However, it was sophomore transfer guard Miah Register who served as the silver lining for FDU. Register recorded a career high 16 points in 20 minutes off of the bench.


Down the Merritt from Quinnipiac University, another nationally televised women’s basketball game will take place, as the Sacred Heart Pioneers host the Monmouth Hawks in a 2012 NEC Championship Game rematch in Fairfield. Last March, the Pioneers cut down the nets in celebration of their third tournament title in program history, after a 58-48 win over MU in the championship game. It marked Monmouth’s second straight championship game defeat. In their first meeting since, the Pioneers come in 3-3 following an impressive PA road trip sweep last weekend, while the Hawks are a game better at 4-2, sweeping the NEC’s Brooklyn based institutions last weekend. The game will air at 4pm on FCS and ESPN3 with the NEC's longtime WBB dynamic announcing duo, Paul Dottino and Pam Roecker on the call.

Elsewhere, the Red Flash will look to shake a two game slide when they host Wagner, Bryant and LIU-Brooklyn will battle for their second NEC win of the season, the 4-2 CCSU Blue Devils will meet the 3-3 St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers, and Mount St. Mary’s will look to build on their impressive 4-2 start, when they square off with Robert Morris.