Official Joe Vaszily confers with his crew members, Geraldine Smith and Nykesha Thompson, during a late timeout between St. Francis Brooklyn and Fairleigh Dickinson. (Photo by Ray Floriani/Daly Dose Of Hoops)
By Ray Floriani (@rfloriani)
TEANECK, NJ - Fresh off what could be considered their best performance of the year, FDU hosted St. Francis Brooklyn. The visiting Terriers, on the strength of an excellent opening half, snapped a two-game losing streak by defeating the Knights, 66-59, at Rothman Center. The victory put the Terriers back at .500 in Northeast Conference play at 4-4, while FDU fell to 2-6.
First five possessions:
FDU: Missed three-point FG, three-point FG, turnover, three-point play, turnover
St. Francis: Field goal, field goal, three-point field goal, turnover, three-point field goal
These five trips resulted in a 10-6 St. Francis lead at the 6:50 mark of the opening stanza, a quick-paced start with both teams showing an affinity for the shot behind the arc. The Terriers found the range early to post a 200 offensive efficiency through those first five possessions.
FDU pressured full court after scores. St. Francis attacked by poise, good ball movement and a three-point shooting offense allowing four players the green light to take a trey. Very tough to defend, especially when shots are falling. The Knights have committed to pushing the pace and shooting threes on their end. Problem is, you get into a shooting contest and when the opposition is hitting at a higher rate, you are digging a tough hole to get out of.
In the second quarter, virtually every St. Francis field goal is a product of transition. Six field goals were made by the Terriers, but one in a set offense - a post score by Olivia Levey.
St. Francis led 38-23 at halftime, and 115-68 in offensive efficiency. Legendary FDU public address announcer Burt Shoobs pointed out on the halftime stats that the Terriers had 12 assists on 14 field goals - excellence in sharing the basketball.
The first four minutes of the second half saw St. Francis continue its dominance. The Terriers opened the third quarter on an 8-4 run, extending the lead to 19. FDU had stops in the first two minutes, but each time, failed to score and capitalize on getting those stops.
Possessions: SFBK 71, FDU 73
Offensive efficiency: SFBK 93, FDU 81
eFG%: SFBK 52, FDU 47
Free Throw Rate: SFBK 43, FDU 21
Offensive Rebound%: SFBK 40, FDU 28
Turnover Rate: SFBK 34, FDU 27
Leading Scorers and Effectiveness Factors:
St. Francis: Alex Delaney, 15 points, EF 18.
FDU: Madelynn Comly, 19 points, EF 26.
FDU’s full court pressure began to gain effectiveness as the third quarter wore on. The press forced turnovers and created scoring opportunities for the Knights. As so often happens, you start to score, then your defensive energy increases and the defense steps up. FDU had the deficit trimmed to seven by the end of the quarter. In the final quarter, St. Francis scored the first five points. That 90-second stretch saw the Terriers rebuild the lead to double digits, putting them in the driver’s seat. FDU hung tough and turned it into a late game free throw contest, but St. Francis made their charity stripe attempts to close out the victory.
The Terriers shot 15-of-21 from the line. FDU struggled from the stripe, shooting just 4-of-12. In fact, the Knights shot almost as well from three-point range, going 7-of-23.
Maria Palarino of St. Francis led all rebounders with 10. In fact, Palarino’s effectiveness factor was 28, as the sophomore guard also scored 10 points, handed out five assists and recorded four steals. The one drawback was her four turnovers. Despite the impressive 19 assists on 21 field goals, a 91 percent assist rate, St. Francis had a negative assist-to-turnover ratio with 24 turnovers. FDU did not fare much better, measuring 13 assists against 20 turnovers. Kiana Brown led the Knights and all players with six assists, but committed four miscues of her own.
Balanced scoring saw St. Francis put four in double figures to combat FDU leading 30-20 in points in the paint, of little surprise given the Terriers’ perimeter orientation. Forty-one percent of St. Francis’ points came from beyond the arc. FDU led 8-0 in fast break points. St. Francis ran, but when they were in transition, their shot of choice was often a three as opposed to a layup.
What St. Francis did well: Play a great first half and share the ball with an astounding 19 assists on 21 field goals.
What FDU did well: Force turnovers. St. Francis was guilty of 24 miscues as the Knights enjoyed a 26-21 edge in points off turnovers.
“Terrific first quarter and a good overall first half for us. We had a sloppy third quarter, letting them back in, but we were in different territory. I can count on one finger the times we led by 15 at the half, and I think our kids got a little complacent at that point. We were able to maintain the lead and made good decisions in the fourth quarter. We put the ball in our best free throw shooters’ hands and made our shots. Palarino played well for us and Alex shot well. Olivia started off very good for us on offense, but got tentative when she got in foul trouble. We expected a run. Pete’s teams play very hard, never give up, and drive and kick it out to their shooters. Turning around and playing them in our next game is a little different. Preparation-wise, we are aware what both teams can do. We may take the opportunity to give the kids an extra day off. If we do that, I guarantee they will be in the gym working on their own.’ - St. Francis Brooklyn coach John Thurston
“The first quarter, they took away a lot of our offensive movement. We had to get aggressive on offense, and we did after that start. The press is our best thing, but the problem is, you must score to get set up. The first half, we didn’t score much and lost press opportunities. Second half, we played better on offense and got into our press. We just did a much better job second half. We have St. Francis next at their place. We will look at film and decide what worked and what didn’t for both teams, and adjust a game plan accordingly. We might throw some wrinkles in regarding ball screens and getting to the elbow. This reminds me of the old NBA teams that played each other back-to-back. It is also like a baseball doubleheader. In both cases, the teams often split. We are hoping now for a split. We like to sweep, but in the second half of the conference schedule, we are looking for splits.” - FDU coach Pete Cinella