The women’s basketball team took down the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds Thursday evening, 74 -44, punching their ticket the NEC Championship game this Sunday.
This is a breakdown of how the Colonials earned their way to fight for their third straight NEC Championship and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
First Quarter Dominance: The first quarter of this game was much similar to that of first quarter in their quarterfinal win for the Colonials. RMU displayed their defensive domination holding to LIU Brooklyn to only 2 points for much of the first 10 minutes of action. Offensively, the Colonials took advantage, jumping out to a 10-2 lead at the first media timeout of the contest. Robert Morris would extend that lead to 14-2, using a 10-0 run. The Colonials finished the opening quarter of play with a 19-9 lead. Neka Ezeigbo produced 6 bench points for RMU, leading the team in scoring after the first quarter.
Long Range Shooting: The Colonials were not afraid of taking shots well beyond the three-point arc. In the first half, freshman Megan Callahan and Nina Augustin both took shots well beyond the three-point arc. The Colonials took advantage of the Blackbirds leaving Colonials open along the perimeter and RMU made them pay. Callahan had a quality game shooting from behind the arc, finishing 4-of-7 from three-point land while putting up 16 points. Honoka Ikematsu also provided the Colonials with 2 three-pointers as she finished with 8 points.
LIU Offensive Struggles: It was a struggle for the Blackbirds in finding the hoop in the first half. LIU Brooklyn saw open layups fall off the rim as well as struggling from the field. The Blackbirds couldn’t find a groove on the offensive end of the court. LIU Brooklyn also didn’t record a single offensive rebound in the first half, leading to their struggles as they allowed RMU to gather the rebound and take it down to the other end of the court.
Also, for the second straight game, Robert Morris turned turnovers into quality points. LIU Brooklyn had 14 first-half turnovers in which the Colonials turned into 16 points. LIU ended up committing 22 turnovers in which the Colonials turned into 28 points.
Nneka Ezeigbo Shines Again: She posted double-doubles in both regular-season games against the Blackbirds this season and her scoring ability against LIU Brooklyn continued in the semifinals. Ezeigbo put on a spectacular scoring performance as she couldn’t miss. Ezeigbo finished with a near perfect percentage from the field. Ezeigbo once again gave the Colonials quality production off of the bench, scoring immediately when she first entered the game. She finished the first half in double figures in points with 12 and would go onto to finish with 21, two points shy of her season high. Not only did Nneka score 21 points, she did so shooting 90 percent from the field, going 9-of-10. She didn’t finish with a double-double in this contest but she once again was a force to be reckoned with in terms of finding the basket.
Points in the Paint: The Colonials took shots from downtown but they also had a field day in the paint. Robert Morris scored half of their first-half points in the paint, scoring 24 compared to LIU Brooklyn’s 4. The Colonials ended up finishing with 38 points in the paint, having their way near the basket all game long.
Swipe City: RMU received a good portion of their turnovers via steals. RMU stole the ball 14 times in the game. Jocelynne Jones was a big factor in steals for the Colonials leading RMU with 5. Jones’ steals came at opportune times for the Colonials early on, on their way to eventually taking full control of the pace of play and the game as a whole.
Full Game Authority: In the previous two games against LIU Brooklyn and even in their quarterfinals victory over CCSU, Robert Morris had a quarter in which they struggled. In this game, RMU avoided a poor scoring performance in any quarter, preventing their opponent from gaining any momentum after taking a controlling lead and winning by double-digits. The Colonials were held to less than 10 points in one quarter in each of the previous two games between the Blackbirds but the Colonials didn’t find themselves in that type of predicament in this game.
The Colonials will take this dominant performance in the semifinals to Loretto Pa. as they will battle the Saint Francis Red Flash in the NEC Championship game, the team they shared the regular season title with. The game will take place this Sunday, Mar. 11 at 2:00 p.m. This will be the fifth straight championship game appearance for Robert Morris.