Robert Morris off to a tremendous start with NEC quarterfinal win

Photo+credit%3A+Morgan+Torchia
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Robert Morris off to a tremendous start with NEC quarterfinal win

Photo credit: Morgan Torchia

Photo credit: Morgan Torchia

Photo credit: Morgan Torchia

Photo credit: Morgan Torchia

Sam Anthony

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The 68-35 win for the Robert Morris Colonials over the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights in the NEC quarterfinals started off in the most appropriate way possible — an Anna Niki Stamolamprou three-pointer that made the sweetest sound in basketball.

The NEC player of the year made the statement that her title is not just for show.

RMU picked up right where it left off against the Knights in its last game and never looked back.

Robert Morris outscored Fairleigh Dickinson 24-11 in the first quarter. FDU tried to throw a full-court press at the Colonials, but it did not faze Stamolamprou and the RMU offense, as it seemed almost every player was hitting shots.

Anna Niki Stamolamprou would score 10 of her 15 points in the first half of this contest Photo Credit: Morgan Torchia

By the end of the game, only Shakema Dashiell would go without directly contributing on the scoreboard for the Colonials.

The Robert Morris defense was physical and almost impervious for most of this game, as FDU was struggling to put up even 10 points in a quarter, scoring as few as six points during the second quarter.

“We tried to come out and full court press…and they immediately just blitzed it,” said FDU head coach Peter Cinella.

The best chance for any kind of comeback was early in the third when Stamolamprou picked up her third foul, forcing her to spend time on the bench. But rather than decrease the deficit, the Knights saw their chance for a comeback get even slimmer with some quick baskets by Megan Smith and Nadege Pluviose.

The Colonials stretched the lead all the way from 17 to 27 during Stamolamprou’s absence.

A career day for Pluviose helped carry the Colonials to another NEC Semifinal appearance Photo Credit: Morgan Torchia

Pluviose would go on to score a career high 13 points, going 5-for-5 from the floor and 3-for-4 from the free-throw line.

“It’s our team being mentally tough enough that when one of our players has to come out of the game…we just take it on as challenges and that’s what our team did today,” said head coach Charlie Buscaglia.

But once Stamolamprou made her way back on the floor, nothing was going to stop her from dominating the rest of this game. Her and Smith finished with 15 points each, while Smith also grabbed 10 rebounds for her 3rd double-double of the season.

The team’s biggest adjustment of the game had to be shaping their style of play without senior point guard Janee Brown leading the charge. The senior was out with an ankle injury that occurred in the team’s final regular season game, also against Fairleigh Dickinson.

It was first game of Brown’s career that she missed.

For the first time in her career, Janee Brown would have to watch the game from the sideline. Phot Credit: Morgan Torchia

The three-headed monster of Nia Adams, Dashiell and Ja’lynn Burton-Jones were able to fill the void with stout defense from Dashiell and some flashy shooting from Burton-Jones and Adams.

Once the Colonials reached the fourth quarter, it was just an act of going through the motions until the end of the game. Stamolamprou, Smith and Navarro all sat for a good portion of the final period.

Robert Morris will take on Central Connecticut State Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in the Charles L. Sewall Center after its upset victory over the No. 3 seed Saint Francis Red Flash.

Saint Francis handed the Colonials their largest loss of the season back in January. This will be RMU’s seventh straight appearance in the conference semifinals.

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