Robert Morris soars back to joust the Knights on Senior Day

Photo+credit%3A+Morgan+Torchia

Photo credit: Morgan Torchia

Nick Hedderick

The Robert Morris women’s basketball team hosted Farleigh Dickinson on Saturday afternoon for Senior Night. The Colonials (18-6, 11-2 NEC) were able to knock off the Knights in what could only be described as a wild game. Despite the 62-49 final score, this game was a back-and-forth battle. In the end, however, the Colonials did indeed pick up a big victory and return to winning form.

Both offenses stumbled out of the gate, to say the least. Each team started off with misses, and each team struggled to get in a rhythm offensively. Mikalah Mulrain was able to get the RMU offense started with some buckets in the post, and Jocelynne Jones also hit a big three early. FDU seemed to have an answer for all of the Colonials’ buckets, though. This and the fact that the RMU three ball wasn’t falling led to a tight game at the end of the first quarter.

The second half saw both defenses shine. FDU decided to use a full-court press against the Colonials, which contributed to RMU committing eight turnovers in the half. The Knights used this to their advantage as they held a lead for a portion of the second quarter. If RMU’s turnovers weren’t enough, FDU turned the ball over 14 times in the first half. The Colonials were everywhere when on defense as they hounded whoever ended up with the ball on the FDU side.

Robert Morris led 23-22 at the half, but FDU was hot on their heels and seemed to have the edge in some aspects. RMU shot only 27.6 percent from the field and sank only 3-8 free throws. Kamrin Weimer of FDU had scored seven points and dished out an assist while shooting 3-5 in the half as well. The Colonials were led by Mulrain, who had eight points and four rebounds in the low-scoring first half. It was clear that some adjustments would need to be made on the RMU end of things if they wanted to hold the lead.

The Knights seemed to be the ones who made the proper adjustments at half as they exploded out of the gate. They started off the half with a 9-0 run that gave them a 31-23 lead. All the momentum had been shifted towards to the FDU side. Courtney Blankenship then hit a three moments later, and the Knights’ lead was 35-25. A stunned Colonial team and all of the fans in attendance were silent. Then RMU began their run.

Megan Callahan drained three shots from downtown to ignite the fire inside the Colonials. The Colonials went on a huge 14-3 run that gave them the lead back. FDU was able to convert both free throws around the 20-second mark which gave them the lead back. At the end of three, the Knights led 40-39. Much like RMU at the end of the first half, it felt like the team in front on the scoreboard was actually the team that was in trouble.

That was indeed the case as Jones buried a three-pointer to give RMU the lead back to start the final quarter. Megan Smith would also score on the next Colonial possession in order to expand the lead to four. Both Jones and Smith struggled for the most part, but these two shots helped turn the tide for good.

FDU scored to close the gap, but the deep ball continued to fall for the Colonials. Honoko Ikematsu and Nina Augustin tickled the twine from deep in order to widen the RMU lead. FDU would continue to close in, but the Colonials were able to make plays when they needed to. The Knights were able to make it a two possession game, but Ikematsu once again launched and sank a three pointer. The crowd exploded as this marked the beginning of the end for FDU, who had to foul and hope for some more missed free throws.

The poor free-throw performance from the first half did not carry over to the final minutes of the game, as the Colonials converted time and time again as they shot 10-12 from the line in the second half. Augustin dribbled up the court and the final horn sounded and the Colonials were able to close out senior night with a great team victory.

Despite the absence of Nneka Ezeigbo, who was suspended for failing to meet the team’s academic standards, and a poor shooting performance from Jones and Smith, the Colonials were able to pick up this big win. RMU had big games from Ikematsu, Mulrain, Callahan and Augustin. Smith, Mulrain and Jones all had four fouls, but the rest of the team was able to maintain their composure even with such big names off the floor for certain crucial parts of the game. It was the definition of a team win, as all nine Colonials that stepped on the floor were able to contribute.

Head coach Charlie Buscaglia did a great job of keeping his team calm and composed during all parts of the game. This and the senior leadership of Smith and Jones helped the Colonials mount their comeback and then hold the lead even when FDU threatened. Buscaglia summed it up well when he said, “Everyone had to be good today.”

The Colonials’ next game will be a home game against Sacred Heart on Monday. It is one of three remaining home games for the Colonials, who only have five regular season games left.