SFC ladies hope to make history too
Terriers Travel to Sacred Heart for NCAA Run of Their Own
Perhaps lost a bit in the shuffle this week as the St. Francis Brooklyn men were poised to begin an historic run at the NCAA Tournament Wednesday night against neighborhood rival LIU, the Terrier ladies will take center stage on Sunday in Fairfield, Conn.
With all the early attention deservedly heaped on the top-seeded men of St. Francis, seeking their first-ever trip to March Madness, the ladies team at the Remsen Street school might just be in position to make a serious NCAA Tournament push of its own.
The Terriers (12-18, 9-9 NEC) endured a brutal regular season until catching fire when it mattered most, emerging victorious in five of their last six regular-season games, including Monday night’s 73-49 rout of the Blackbirds at the Steinberg Wellness Center, to grab the NEC’s No. 5 seed entering tournament play.
Senior standout Sarah Benedetti received the coveted MVP award for the Battle of Brooklyn clash – SFC’s third consecutive victory in the series – after putting up 17 points.
“It was our last regular season game, we wanted to win this and we wanted to finish with one more victory here in Brooklyn,” said Benedetti after the Terriers earned the right to take on fourth-seeded Sacred Heart this weekend. “I was not expecting to win MVP. It’s a nice surprise to be recognized for your performance.”
A senior-laden group, including Benedetti, Katie Fox, Eilidh Simpson and Jaymee Veney, the Terriers didn’t want what very well could be their last-ever game in Downtown Brooklyn to end on a down note.
“LIU has been playing really well,” SFC head coach John Thurston said. “We played some beautiful basketball. … Great team effort, they wanted to win their [last] regular season game.”
Despite the lopsided defeat, the Blackbirds (9-20, 6-12) will also get a shot to advance Sunday as they meet top-seeded Central Connecticut State in the opening round of the NECs.
Junior Sophie Bhasin led LIU this season with 15.6 points per game. She and the rest of the Blackbirds are doubtlessly eager to put their regular-season behind them in a hurry with a big win Sunday in New Britain, Conn.
The SFC women have never qualified for the NCAAs, while the Blackbirds are seeking their second NEC title and first since 2001.
There was significant hoops heartbreak in Brooklyn last Friday night as the Brooklyn College men’s team suffered a gut-wrenching 90-83 double-overtime loss to Baruch in the CUNYAC Championship final, denying the Bulldogs a place in the Division III NCAA Tournament.
In a contest that featured 16 ties and 10 lead changes, the Bulldogs came up on the short end following the first-ever overtime affair in the 50-year history of the tournament.
Lorenzo Williams scored 23 points and pulled down 11 rebounds and Egzon Gjonbalaj had 11 points and 10 boards for BC (22-6), which was denied an at-large NCAA bid, but was awarded with the top overall seed in the upcoming ECAC Metro Championships.
The BC women also had to settle for an ECAC bid after again falling short to CUNYAC powerhouse Baruch in the CUNYAC Finals last Friday.
Senior Nicole Francomano scored a team-high 12 points in the 60-39 setback, which resulted in Baruch’s eighth consecutive CUNYAC crown.
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