Final score: Robert Morris 89 Farleigh Dickinson 61
G Rebeca Navarro (RMU) – 23 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds
F Erika Livermore (FDU) – 19 points, 5 rebounds
G Anna Niki Stamolamprou (RMU) – 13 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists
Navarro goes off: Sophomore guard Rebeca Navarro went on a tear in this quarterfinal contest, and not in the way many, including she, could have anticipated. “I mean, I’m a three-point shooter, so 23 points without any three-point shots, that’s pretty weird,” said Navarro.
This point total set a new career-high for the Spaniard, which previously stood at 20. Again worth mentioning is the fact that Navarro, known as a sharpshooter, managed to accomplish this feat without the assistance of the three ball. She missed both attempts from beyond the arc in the game, relying on her mid-range shooting and ability to finish inside to finish the contest 8-of-12 from the field. Navarro knew this going in.
“In this case I have Cruz, who we knew from scouting she wasn’t a really good defender,” said Navarro. “When I was trying to shoot she was right in my face, but when I would try to drive she couldn’t slide her feet. So it was one of those things where we had to take advantage of her.”
Second half changes: The Colonials went into the second half up 40-38 but could not pull away. Then, according to head coach Sal Buscaglia, RMU made an adjustment to how it would attack offensively. Associate head coach Charlie Buscaglia suggested posting up Navarro on Kelsey Cruz, knowing that she had foul trouble and she struggled defensively.
“We adjusted and did a little different type of play that we normally run,” said coach Buscaglia, “which originally does not include Rebeca [Navarro] doing what she was doing. But [coach Charlie Buscaglia] came up with an idea to put Rebeca in the low post.”
Once this was implemented, Navarro took advantage down low despite her lack of experience working in that position. It also did not hurt to have a four inch height advantage when backing down the opposition.
Bye bye, Coach Sal: In a press release the day before RMU’s quarterfinal game versus Farleigh Dickinson, Robert Morris head coach Sal Buscaglia announced his pending retirement after the 2015-16 season. In his twelve year career, Buscaglia has led the Colonials to five regular season NEC titles and three NEC Tournament wins that resulted in three NCAA Tournament appearances (2007, 2008, 2014), all of which are best in the Northeast conference over his tenure. As for why the news came out now, Buscaglia gave an earnest response.
“In the nearly fourty years, I’ve helped raise a lot of other people’s kids,” said Buscaglia. “It’s about time I think that I be with my grand-kids. But I’m a little scared, I can’t tell you I’m not.”
Even though this looming retirement now weighs on the mind of the team, Buscaglia is still concerned about finishing this season off in a positive manner, along with leaving the Colonials on top after next season.
“All we can control right now is going to Bryant, playing well and focusing. Who says we can’t win anywhere we play?”