From left to right: Kiana Brown, head coach Pete Cinella, Zeynep Akgun and Brianna Thomas with families on FDU's senior day. (Photo by Ray Floriani/Daly Dose Of Hoops)
By Ray Floriani (@rfloriani)
TEANECK, NJ - On senior day, homestanding FDU was hoping to extend a three-game win streak. Mount St. Mary’s, coming off a loss at Robert Morris, captured four of their last five. FDU could not keep the momentum going, as Bryan Whitten’s Mountaineers scored a 75-71 victory in overtime to improve to 8-7 in the Northeast Conference. FDU fell to 6-9.
First five possessions:
FDU: FG, three-point FG, missed FG, turnover, missed FG
Mount St. Mary’s: Missed FG, turnover, three-point FG, offensive foul, missed FG
The 5-3 FDU lead at the 6:14 mark hinted at a moderate to slower tempo start.
FDU did not score a field goal the last four minutes of the first quarter and increased their lead. Two free throws extended an 11-5 advantage to eight at the end of the quarter. The Mount went scoreless those four minutes, and had difficulty establishing an offensive flow as the Knights did a good job changing defenses to keep the Mount St. Mary’s offense off balance. FDU posted an 81 offensive efficiency the first ten minutes while holding the Mount to an eye-popping 29.
The Knights did a nice job defending inside threat Caroline Hummell, a double-figure scorer for The Mount. The wings, by virtue of penetration and hitting from deep, have more than compensated. Mount St. Mary’s found the range on offense. As often happens, the offense clicks and those same players begin to step it up on defense. The half saw the visitors take a 29-28 lead. The second quarter, 24-15 in Mount’s favor, saw a complete turnaround in efficiency. (Mount St. Mary’s 141, FDU 88)
FDU won the first four minutes of the second half, 7-6, to knot the score at 35. The Knights got a lift from Courtney Blankenship, with five points on a three and foul line jumper. The Mount was able to look inside to Hummell with more success than over the course of the opening half. As the half progressed, Hummell’s effectiveness made a difference. Her inside presence commands attention, thus opening possibilities on the perimeter that The Mount is taking advantage of. The visitors built a six-point fourth quarter lead, not insurmountable; but given the stagnation of the FDU offense after a good start this half, tough to come back from. Some questionable shot selection by the visitors, coupled with a few much-needed easy baskets by the Knights, saw a tie game with less than a minute left. FDU had the final possession in regulation and is unable to convert.
In the extra session, Alexis Carter, The Mount’s leading scorer in NEC play, asserts herself. The senior guard scored all three of The Mount’s field goals, including two from long range to seal the verdict.
Possessions: Mount 73, FDU 79
Offensive efficiency: Mount 103, FDU 90
eFG%: Mount 50, FDU 46
Free throw rate: Mount 46, FDU 42
Offensive rebound%: Mount 23, FDU 47
Turnover rate: Mount 21, FDU 27
Leading scorers and EF:
Mount: Alexis Carter 22 points, EF 32.
FDU: Brianna Thomas 17 points, EF 29
Ball control index: Mount 1.27, FDU .952
What Mount St. Mary’s did well: Force turnovers. FDU committed 21 turnovers for an extremely high 27 percent rate. Credit The Mount pressure for that.
What FDU did well: Rebound on the offensive end. The Knights held a 17-8 edge in raw offensive rebounding numbers. For FDU, Brianna Thomas led the way with six off the offensive glass.
Mount St. Mary’s led 21-16 in points off turnovers. In an overtime contest, those turnovers had a drastic effect on the Knights. FDU led 25-20 on points in the paint.while shooting 6-of-24 from long range. The Mount shot 10-of-23 from beyond the arc, another significance difference with Carter leading the way on 5-of-9. Mount St. Mary’s led 33-27 in points off the bench. That was a bit deceptive, as Carter supplied 22 of those in a 35-minute relief role.
Former FDU men’s coach Tom Green, now at CCNY, and son Brad; a scout for the Los Angeles Clippers, took in the action at FDU.
“We did a nice job on the offensive boards, but our defense wasn’t as sharp. I thought in overtime, we let Carter get two great looks and she buried the threes. Our defense was good on Hummell. She scored 14 but shot 3-of-8, and we made her work for everything she got. They pressured us a bit and we could not respond. Just too many turnovers against their pressure. I like the way we battled at the end of regulation to force overtime. At this point, we want to qualify for the postseason playoffs. We want to get the highest seed possible, because whoever we play will be on the road.” - FDU coach Pete Cinella