Colonials begin the quest for another trip to the NCAA Tournament

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Colonials begin the quest for another trip to the NCAA Tournament

The RMU Women's Basketball team huddles up during the media timeout. Moon Twp, PA Jan. 28, 2019. (RMU Sentry Media/Samuel Anthony)

The RMU Women's Basketball team huddles up during the media timeout. Moon Twp, PA Jan. 28, 2019. (RMU Sentry Media/Samuel Anthony)

Samuel Anthony

The RMU Women's Basketball team huddles up during the media timeout. Moon Twp, PA Jan. 28, 2019. (RMU Sentry Media/Samuel Anthony)

Samuel Anthony

Samuel Anthony

The RMU Women's Basketball team huddles up during the media timeout. Moon Twp, PA Jan. 28, 2019. (RMU Sentry Media/Samuel Anthony)

Jonathan Hanna, Sports Assistant Editor

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FORT WORTH, TX.– The Robert Morris women’s basketball team heads to the Lone Star State on Tuesday to take on the Horned Frogs of TCU. Last season, the Colonials were able to defeat Saint Francis 65-54 in the NEC Championship game before losing to no. 1 Louisville in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by a score of 69-34.

Recapping Robert Morris

For the Colonials, after winning the NEC last year and representing the conference in March Madness; they return nearly the same squad as last year. The only players absent from last year’s team that won 22 games are guards Nia Adams and Shakema Dashiell.

Adams will pose as a potentially crucial loss for the Colonials this season. The Paterson, New Jersey, native played in 33 games last year, starting 32 of them. She averaged 20.7 minutes a game for Robert Morris and scored an average of 4.4 points per game.

Looking to replace Adams is a small, but talented group of three incoming freshmen. Among them is Ramatoulaye Keïta, a 5’11” forward from Bamako, Mali. In 2018, at the FIBA U18 Women’s African Championship, Keïta helped her country win the championship, coming off the bench to average 6.5 points per game.

Previewing TCU

Last year, Texas Christian’s season went mostly well, finishing with a similar record to Robert Morris at 24-11. Unfortunately, the Horned Frogs ran into a hot Texas team in the first round of the Big 12 Championship. In the WNIT, TCU was able to battle to the semi-finals before losing to eventual champions Arizona by a score of 59-53.

Leaving the Horned Frogs this year includes a senior class featuring two key players in center Jordan Moore and forward Amy Okonkwo. Last season, the two combined for an average 30.1 points per game, 15.1 rebounds per game, and 77 total steals.

Players to Watch

Nneka Ezeigbo (RMU)

Last year’s NEC Defensive Player of the Year and NEC Tournament MVP, Ezeigbo dominated on the defensive side of the ball last year. Eziegbo had 57 steals and 44 blocks, (only Isabella Posset had more steals (62)). Despite her defensive prowess, Ezeigbo was also able to put the ball in the basket, averaging 12.5 points per game.

Nina Augustin (RMU)

The junior from Helsinki, Finland, was a lethal shooter from behind the arc for the Colonials last season. Augustin’s three-pointer percentage of .419% was the highest on the team for players who played in more than 10 contests. Augustin was also solid on the foul line, shooting a .718%, good for third on the squad.

Kianna Ray (TCU)

With the departures of Moore and Okonkwo, Ray is the returning leading scorer for the Horned Frogs, averaging 10.2 points per game last year. The guard from Austin, Texas, is coming into her senior season with TCU, and last year, she started 35 out of 35 games. Ray was also named to the 2019-20 Preseason All-Big 12 Honorable Mention team.

Jaycee Bradley (TCU)

After sitting out last year due to NCAA transfer rules, the former South Dakota Coyotes guard is looking to make her mark with the Horned Frogs. During the 2017-18 season with South Dakota, the 5’10” guard averaged 10.5 points per game, which was good enough for third on the team. Bradley was also named to the Summit League honorable mention team that season.

Prediction

In what some may see as an upset, the Colonials charge into Fort Worth and are able to take down the Horned Frogs in a defensive battle. Nneka Ezeigbo scores 10 points, adds four steals and five blocks as the Colonials pull out a win by a score of 50-43.

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