Thursday, January 28, 2016

FDU 75, LIU Brooklyn 58: Ray Floriani's Tempo-Free Analysis

Erika Livermore discusses her performance on FDU's postgame show following Knights' victory over LIU Brooklyn. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)

Teaneck, NJ ­- A quirk in Northeast Conference scheduling sees LIU and FDU meet twice in four days. On Wednesday evening, the Knights entertained LIU, with the return match on Saturday in Brooklyn. FDU came off a nice win over Mount St. Mary’s on Sunday. In the ‘Battle of Brooklyn,’ LIU lost to St. Francis Brooklyn on Saturday. Yes, with the school a mile apart, they played during the blizzard. Jonas be damned! On this night, ‘round one’ went to FDU by a 75-58 count.

First quarter: The first five minutes saw the visiting Blackbirds get out to a 15-­6 lead. A good start on the road is of utmost importance, and LIU accomplished it. The Knights were utilizing a 3-­2 zone, and LIU countered well with dribble penetration (which a zone should not allow) and a high/low post set, allowing looks inside and on the perimeter as well. FDU did not have great difficulty putting points on the board against the LIU 2­-3. The problem, however, was on defense.

End of first quarter: LIU 24, FDU 19

Second quarter: Two Kelsey Cruz field goals got FDU within one a minute into the quarter, not a bad position given the Knights’ rough opening quarter.

A quick timeout by coach Stephanie Oliver of LIU settled the Blackbirds down. FDU seemed content to take the three against the zone. The problem, though, was that it was not falling. LIU will shoot the three, but is concerned more with breaking down the defense and getting in the lane. Interestingly, by going man, FDU did a better job against the penetration picking up a few charges.

Halftime: 36-36

Possessions: 36
Offensive efficiency: LIU 88, FDU 88

865:­ The number of consecutive games called by legendary FDU public address announcer Burt Shoobs.

Third quarter: FDU scored on four of their first five possessions to open an eight-point lead. The Knights were in a combination with a double-team on any post touches. Offensively, FDU is showed greater patience, and the result was a much improved shot selection. With the lead, FDU went back to the 3­-2. They played it considerably better than when they opened the contest in it. The third quarter, a Knights Achilles' heel earlier in the season, proved to be a very effective 10 minutes on this night.

End of third quarter: FDU 57, LIU 49

Fourth quarter: Kelsey Cruz scored FDU’s first three field goals. The Knights led by 13 at the seven-minute mark. FDU was rebounding well on the defensive end, as the Blackbirds were continuously limited to one shot. FDU’s lead ballooned to 15 at the media timeout in an outstanding half by the Knights, while LIU has been just the opposite. In the last two minutes, FDU’s Erika Livermore, a threat much closer to the basket, drained a three. When it rains, it pours, as FDU closed out a nice win.

Final: FDU 75, LIU 58

Possessions: 71

Offensive efficiency: LIU 82, FDU 106

Four Factors:
eFG percentage: LIU 43, FDU 49
Free throw rate: LIU 32, FDU 21
Offensive rebound percentage: LIU 32, FDU 50
Turnover rate: LIU 31, FDU 23

Leading Scorers and Effectiveness Factors:
LIU: Brianna Farris (16 points, EF 17)
FDU: Erika Livermore (23 points, EF 31)

What LIU did well: Get to the line. Dribble penetration early on allowed the Blackbirds to get to the charity stripe. They attempted 17 free throws, hitting 12 (70.4 percent).

What FDU did well: Besides playing a strong second half on offense (111 offensive efficiency), the Knights forced LIU into 22 turnovers and an alarmingly high 31 percent turnover rate. Kelsey Cruz added 20 points for the Knights. Livermore and Cruz registered very high EF per minute metrics.

Livermore: EF 31, EF/Min 1.03

Cruz: EF 23, EF/Min 1.00

FDU had a resounding 48­-26 edge on points in the paint. The Knight bench outscored LIU by a whopping 36-­0 margin. FDU SID Phil Paquette pointed out Cruz did not start, and did provide 20 of the bench points. Regardless, it was an impressive display of depth by coach Pete Cinella’s club. The starting five of LIU logged 34 or more minutes. The Blackbirds went six-deep, with reserve Lily Abreu putting in 15 minutes. Credit it in part to the (lack of) depth situation, LIU’s Shanice Vaughan (6) and DeAngelique Waithe (5) combined for 11 of the Blackbird turnovers. Jackie Jackson of FDU turned in another solid effort, with eight points and a game-high nine rebounds.

LIU is 3­-5 in conference, FDU has won two straight NEC games, and improved to 4-­4 in league play.

Final Thoughts
LIU coach Stephanie Oliver: “They had three, four, sometimes five kids come off the bench. We couldn’t match their depth or transition. We started off well, then started to settle for the first shot. Turnovers were another problem. Too many turnovers, another thing that really hurt us offensively.”

FDU coach Pete Cinella: “We went with the bench the last four minutes of the first half. They gave us a lift, they made plays and took charges, so we started them the second half, they continued to play well. We built a lead and that was the difference. Our zone improved the second half. We stopped penetration. Number 22 (Farris) hurt us early, but we defended her really well, especially the second half. We did not get a third double-figure scorer, but we had a few with five or more points, which was a good sign of balance.”

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