Kelsey Cruz shows her free throw form against Monmouth. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)
First quarter: FDU 16, Monmouth 15. Neither team could gain the early separation in an evenly contested 10 minutes. Monmouth looked for the three, but couldn’t hit it. The Hawks were 1-of-7 beyond the arc. Monmouth pressed after scoring, but troubles in the offensive department negated that option. Early on, FDU guard Kelsey Cruz was a matchup problem. The high-scoring Cruz can take you off the dribble or move well without the ball as well.
Second quarter: The inside play of FDU’s Erika Livermore helped the Knights build a seven-point lead at the five minute mark. Monmouth went zone and FDU, who likes to run, made more of a transition effort to beat the zone before it set up. Monmouth continued to shoot the three, and began to hit a few. FDU scored nine field goals the second quarter, eight combined from Livermore(5) and Cruz (3).
Halftime: FDU 40, Monmouth 27
Offensive efficiency: FDU 105, Monmouth 77
Third quarter: Monmouth opened scoring with Christina Mitchell registering the first two field goals of the quarter. FDU responded as they do best, finding Livermore inside. FDU threatened to pull away, but Monmouth regrouped. The Hawks hit two treys, and also found success in the paint with the aforementioned Mitchell. Having more pressing opportunities, the Hawk pressure began to affect FDU.
FDU 53, Monmouth 47
Fourth quarter: FDU made a concerted effort to keep running. No conservative approach with a two-possession lead. The transition helped the Knights get the lead back to 14 with just over seven minutes to go. It is not all Livermore and Cruz for FDU. Jackie Jackson, a junior forward, has been effective, especially in transition against the press. Monmouth continued to shoot threes. The Hawks, highlighted by Dana Carbone, bury seven treys to get within two possessions with under a minute left. In the final 30 seconds, it is FDU on the line against Monmouth beyond the arc.
Final: FDU 81, Monmouth 75
Possessions: Monmouth 77, FDU 80
Offensive efficiency: Monmouth 97, FDU 101
eFG: Monmouth 43, FDU 54
FT Rate: Monmouth 27, FDU 54
OREB pct: Monmouth 41, FDU 42
TO Rate: Monmouth 18, FDU 31
What Monmouth did well: Shoot threes and press. The overall three-point percentage was 34%. The Hawks did can eight threes the final quarter to make it very interesting. Full court pressure was key to forcing FDU into an exceptionally high turnover rate.
What FDU did well: Get to the line. Aided by a 38-20 edge in points in the paint, the Knights interior strength afforded them numerous opportunities to draw fouls. They put those trips to good use, hitting 23 of 29 (79%) from the line.
Leading scorers and Effectiveness Factors:
Monmouth: Dana Carbone 19 points, EF 26
FDU: Erika Livermore 28 points, EF 42
A wild fourth quarter saw each team score 28 points. The game as a whole featured a tie and eight lead changes, all coming in the first half. FDU’s last field goal was 6:43 to play, as the Knights basically shot free throws down the stretch. Monmouth's Dana Carbone shot an eFG percentage of 70. Going 4-of-8 from long range helped appreciably. A good sign for FDU was 14 points from Jackie Jackson. A consistent additional scorer can only take pressure off Livermore (28 points) and Kelsey Cruz (23 points).
FDU coach Pete Cinella pointed out the ‘5’ spot gave the Knights 32 points and 25 rebounds. Besides Livermore’s numbers, Anastasia Williams added four points and 10 boards.
“At the half, we stressed teams will make runs, we just have to respond. We have to give a full 40 minute effort. Monmouth shot incredibly well from three. They got some great looks late out of transition. I thought Jackie (Jackson) defended, rebounded, and just gave us some great possessions. We have to get better, and I think we are headed in that direction.” - FDU coach Pete Cinella