Thursday, December 31, 2015

Siena 81, FDU 65: Ray Floriani's Tempo-Free Analysis

Ali Jaques discusses Siena's victory over FDU with Mike Demos on Saints' radio postgame show. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)

Teaneck, NJ -­ In closing out the year and non-­conference schedule, FDU hosted Siena of the MAAC. Hoping to build momentum heading into the Northeast Conference schedule, FDU was unable to complete the task. Siena prevailed, 81-­65 at the Rothman Center, raising their record to 5-­7. The Knights lost their second straight at home, falling to 3-­9. The breakdown and numbers of note:

First quarter: Fairly even for a good portion of the quarter, Siena was full court pressuring after scores. In the half court, Siena was playing FDU inside star Erika Livermore straight man-to-man, fronting on defense. Siena coach Ali Jaques rotated defenders, keeping Livermore guarded by fresh bodies. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo has said special situation plays in basketball are like special teams in football. Siena gained their two-possession edge on a buzzer-beating three by Karolina Severova off a baseline inbounds play with 1.2 seconds remaining.

End of first quarter: Siena 21, FDU 16

Second quarter: Siena was in an attack-the-basket mode. Off turnovers and in half court, the Saints looked to take the defense off the dribble for opportunities inside and/or drawing fouls. At the four-minute mark, Siena had a seven-point lead. All of their five second quarter field goals, at this point, were scored in the paint. For good measure, Siena’s Jackie Benitez buried two three-pointers late in the quarter to help the Saints to a double-digit lead.

Halftime: Siena 44, FDU 30

Possessions: Siena 38, FDU 44

Offensive efficiency: Siena 116, FDU 73

Third quarter: FDU ‘won’ the first four minutes, 10-­7. Of greater significance is Livermore (four points at the half) having three field goals over those first four minutes, and being very active inside. The Knights cut the lead to six, but Siena did not waver. Getting back to their dribble penetration, the Saints quickly rebuilt their lead. Despite FDU’s start to open the quarter, Siena lost no ground.

End of third quarter: Siena 64, FDU 50

Fourth quarter: On the first FDU possession, Livermore missed two free throws. The second possession? A travel. Not a good early start at all. Missed opportunities took their toll on the Knights. Siena capitalized by getting in transition, building an 18-point lead with just over five minutes to play. The eight fourth quarter field goals by the Saints were all in the paint, on both fast breaks and half court offense.

Final: Siena 81, FDU 65

Possessions: Siena 78, FDU 81

Offensive efficiency: Siena 104, FDU 80

Four Factors:
eFG percentage: Siena 52, FDU 47
Free throw rate: Siena 37, FDU 18
OREB percentage: Siena 39, FDU 37

Turnover rate: Siena 23, FDU 33

What Siena did well: Pressure effectively. The Saints forced FDU into a third of their possessions ending in turnovers. Siena enjoyed a 28-­13 edge in points off turnovers. “All things considered, outside of turnovers, I thought the two teams were even,” said FDU coach Pete Cinella. “Turnovers were the key.”

What FDU did well: Get another solid night from Erika Livermore. Twenty points, five rebounds, sixteen of the points in the second half. Livermore sparked a run that got the deficit from double digits to two possessions midway through the third quarter.

Leading scorers and effectiveness factors:
Siena­: Kollyns Scarbrough 15 points, EF 23
FDU­: Erika Livermore 20 points, EF 27

Kelsey Cruz 20 points, EF 30

Siena placed five in double figures. The Saints also led 46-­38 in points in the paint.

FDU coach Pete Cinella is searching for a third scorer. In the win over Monmouth last week, Jackie Jackson hit for double figures. Tonight she had four points, four turnovers and five fouls. Anastasia Williams posted a respectable nine points and five rebounds. “In our three wins, we had scoring to back up Erika (Livermore) and Kelsey (Cruz),” Cinella said. “Every day, even in practice, we have been looking for a third consistent scorer. We’re still searching.”

In raw numbers, FDU was guilty of 27 turnovers. “Our best point guard (Maddie Comly) against the press is out (ankle sprain),” Cinella said. “As a result, we were very vulnerable.”

Siena coach Ali Jaques added, “pressing, it’s what we do. It defines us. We want to come at you with pressure. It helps our offense as well.” Jaques was pleased with the offensive showing and made mention. “It was good to have an offensive breakout with conference play starting,” she said. “We have had some trouble scoring thus far.” Not tonight.

Siena entered averaging 56.2 points per game, with an offensive efficiency of 78. Both numbers were easily eclipsed in this road victory.

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