Monday, February 22, 2016

FDU 75, Wagner 67: Ray Floriani's Tempo-Free Analysis

Officials Joe Palermo and Brian Callahan check the monitor during a timeout. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)

Teaneck, NJ - ­Wagner visited FDU with a 3-­12 Northeast Conference record. The attraction, though, was the nation’s leading scorer.

Jasmine Nwajei, a junior guard, entered with a 28.7 points per game average. Her most recent outing saw a 40-point outburst in the Seahawks' win at Central Connecticut on Saturday.

Nwajei is the first junior in NEC history to eclipse the 2,000-point mark, but her exploits in the scoring column were not enough on this night to stop FDU. The Knights posted a 75­-67 victory at the Rothman Center, improving their NEC record to 8­-8.

Another look at the point and usage distribution, as we profile Nwajei’s numbers in NEC play through 15 games, leading up to tonight:

Scoring average: 34.1 PPG
Effectiveness factor per game: 40.1
Effectiveness factor per minute: 1.08
Usage: 40.8 percent of possessions

Possessions: Wagner 74, FDU 76
Offensive efficiency: Wagner 91, FDU 99

eFG%: Wagner 38, FDU 46
FT Rate: Wagner 40, FDU 36
OREB%: Wagner 30, FDU 31

Turnover Rate: Wagner 15, FDU 18

Leading scorers and EF:
Wagner:­ Jasmine Nwajei (33 points, EF 49)
Kelsey Cruz, FDU ­ (22 points, EF 31)

What Wagner did well: Care for the ball. The Seahawks' turnover rate was just 15 percent. In addition, Lisa Cermignano’s club did a good job making sure the ball was in Nwajei’s hands in good scoring position as they tried to come back late in the fourth quarter.

What FDU did well: Put together a productive fourth quarter. The Knights entered the final stanza down 47-­43. Over those last ten minutes, they outscored Wagner 10-­5 in field goals. “I thought earlier, we tried a bit too hard,” FDU coach Pete Cinella said. “The last quarter we slowed down, started reversing the ball, and found the open man.”

Erika Livermore (15 points, 11 rebounds) recorded her 51st career double-double. The senior forward turned in a tidy 26 EF.

More on Nwajei: The 5­-08 junior led all rebounders with 13 boards. Her usage on the night was 37.92 percent. “I thought we did a good job on her,” Cinella said. “The last four minutes of the game, (with the ball her exclusive property on offense) she scored around 10 points. If you look at it overall, it was like we held her to 23 points.”

Sofia Roma was the only other Wagner double-figure scorer, with a dozen points. FDU received solid support from Amina Markovic (9 points, 7 rebounds) and Brianna Thomas (11 points, 4 rebounds).

Final thoughts:
“We moved the ball and got a lot of assists the fourth quarter. We setlled down and realized we are good at it.” - Erika Livermore on FDU’s fourth-quarter spurt.

“Jasmine is a great player. She is going to get her points. We had to be sure the role players around her were shut down.” ­- Livermore on Nwajei

“As an athlete, you realize when the time is coming. I just want to go out every game and play as hard as I can.” -­ Livermore on her last regular season home game

“This race is wide open. We have a chance for a home game, but we must win our last two (at Central Connecticut and Bryant) and get some help. The field is very level like last year. I will say, however, that Sacred Heart is very good.” -­ FDU coach Pete Cinella on the upcoming NEC Tournament

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