Photo credit: Morgan Torchia
Photo credit: Morgan Torchia

RMU tightens grasp on conference lead in thrashing of Bryant

January 27, 2018

A slow start for the Colonials didn’t stop the result from being yet another dominant victory for RMU in their 72-49 domination of the Bryant Bulldogs.

It was certainly a bumpy start for RMU head coach Charlie Buscaglia and his team. Despite their dominance in the NEC through the start of conference play, Bryant came out with a long-distance three-point shot and a pair of second-chance buckets to jump out to a quick 11-2 lead to start the game.

“They were outworking us,” said RMU head coach Charlie Buscaglia “Early on we didn’t come out with the pace, we got a little bit lazy. And when you get a little bit lazy like that at this level they are gonna come after you,”

But the Colonials were no stranger to these types of deficits. RMU would lock into their physical style of play and their lockdown defense to allow their offense to slowly get them back in the game.

Nneka Ezeigbo, Megan Smith and Mikalah Mulrain would lead the way into the paint, as the lead the Bulldogs held just minutes before slipped away. Jocelynne Jones would hit two shots at the charity stripe to tie the game at 14 with still a minute left in the first quarter.

The Colonials would end the first quarter with a 15-14 lead and from there they never looked back.

It started off with a completely one-sided second quarter in which the Colonials outscored the Bulldogs 20-6. Ikematsu led this second quarter tirade with eight points including two three-pointers.

“We continued to grind,” said coach Buscaglia “And that’s how things changed. We picked up the intensity,”

Ikematsu would finish the game with a team-high 16 points.

Megan Smith continued her stretch of impressive play, heading into the half with 10 points two rebounds and a steal.

Just as the offense was beginning to find its rhythm, the defense for the Colonials was in full form.

Bryant had put up 11 points in the first five minutes of play and going into the fourth quarter had scored just 21 more points to show for their efforts.

It seemed there was nothing Bryant head coach Mary Burke could draw up to get past RMU’s lockdown defense.

“We focus a lot on making sure everyone is earning what they are getting,” said Buscaglia “To be a great defensive team you don’t just read what they are doing and then react, you gotta read and anticipate,”

With a 60-32 lead going into the fourth quarter. It was business as usual for RMU, who displayed why they have yet to lose in conference play.

The final score of the game, 72-49 yet another impressive defensive display from one of the best defenses in the nation.

The win marks the team’s eighth in a row as they sit with a perfect 8-0 conference record and a 15-4 overall record. This marks the best start in NEC play in the history of the program.

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