Brooklyn Boro

St. Francis Terriers looking to finish up strong

SFC Brooklyn Wins Second Straight Behind Senior Benedetti

February 4, 2015 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Senior Sarah Benedetti and the SFC Brooklyn Terriers are heating up just in time to make a run at the NEC Tournament title next month. Photo courtesy of SFC Brooklyn Athletics
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All signs pointed to the St. Francis Brooklyn women’s basketball team making history a season ago.

The Terriers won a program-best 19 games overall while also setting school marks with 12 victories at the Pope Center and 10 triumphs in Northeast Conference play.

But coach John Thurston’s squad suffered a humbling 58-54 loss at Bryant last March in the NEC quarterfinals, falling three wins shy of its ultimate goal – the Remsen Street school’s first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Whether it was the hangover from that stinging defeat, or just the competitive balance in the league, the Terriers (7-15, 4-6 NEC) hardly came charging out of the game this season.

Despite boasting a talented and accomplished roster stockpiled with veteran players, SFC lost 12 of its first 15 contests and each of its first three NEC games.

Competing for an NCAA Tournament bid suddenly became secondary to just qualifying for the NEC Tournament.

Fortunately for the Terriers, the poor start hasn’t yet prevented them from a potential strong finish.

Sarah Benedetti scored 15 points, fellow senior Eilidh Simpson added 14 and junior Leah Fechko added 10 Monday as SFC bolstered its tournament hopes with a 52-46 victory over visiting Mount St. Mary’s at Downtown’s Pope Center.

Benedetti, averaging 18.5 points per game in the Terriers’ back-to-back wins as she continues to climb the program’s all-time scoring list, and Fechko, netting 12.2 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.0 steals over her last four contests, have helped SFC win four of its last seven contests.

The late-season surge has launched the Terriers into sixth place in the league standings, two spots ahead of neighborhood rival LIU-Brooklyn, which SFC beat, 62-53, in last weekend’s Battle for Brooklyn game.

Benedetti scored a game-high 22 points against the Blackbirds, while fourth-year forward Jaymee Veney established a career best with 21 points.

SFC will try to continue boosting its league standing Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. in Staten Island against Wagner.

The Blackbirds, holding on to the conference’s final tournament spot, suffered their third straight defeat Monday night at the Steinberg Wellness Center as league-leading Central Connecticut State rolled to a 68-54 triumph in Downtown Brooklyn.

Junior Sophie Bhasin had 12 points and seven rebounds for LIU (6-15, 3-7), which will try to end its skid Saturday against visiting St. Francis (Pa.).

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Over at Brooklyn College, the Lady Bulldogs are rolling toward this month’s CUNYAC Championships.

On Tuesday night in Jamaica, N.Y., senior forward Vanessa D’Ambrosi of Park Slope’s Bishop Ford High School scored 17 points and pulled down six rebounds as BC posted its season-high seventh straight win, 68-61, at York College.

Fourth-year forward Megan Campbell added 11 points and nine boards and Nicole Francomano had 11 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Bulldogs, who improved to 15-5 overall and a conference-best 12-1 in CUNYAC play.

BC has five regular-season games remaining, including Friday’s trip to Hunter College, before the CUNYAC quarterfinals commence on Feb. 21.
Last season, the Bulldogs were knocked off by Baruch in the CUNYAC semifinals.

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The BC men weren’t nearly as successful at York on Tuesday, suffering an 80-71 setback despite 15 points from junior forward Lorenzo Williams and 14 by third-year swingman Egzon Gjonbalaj.

The Bulldogs (17-5, 9-4 CUNYAC) will also be at Hunter on Friday evening.

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In other local college sports news, LIU-Brooklyn senior Brendon Rodney was named the Northeast Conference Track Athlete of the Week, while sophomore teammate Adam Walker-Khan earned the Field Athlete of the Week award, marking the second weekly honor of the season for both Blackbirds.

Rodney earned the award for the second straight week after his performance at the Terrier Classic this weekend. He won the 200-meter dash in 20.78, tying his own LIU program record, while running the third fastest time in both the nation and the world this season. He also placed third in the 60-meter dash in 6.8 ticks, matching his league-leading time, and was the top collegiate finisher overall.

Walker-Khan, competing at the Metro Team Challenge at the Armory, leapt 14.83 meters in the triple jump to pull into second place on the league leader board, eight centimeters behind teammate Amir Armstrong.

Although it was not near his seasonal best, Walker-Khan also produced an IC4A Championship-qualifying mark in the long jump at the NYC Armory.

The Blackbirds are back in action this Friday at the Metropolitan Championships at the Armory.

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