Women’s basketball’s NEC hopes fall short

Matt Polaski

Brooks Bratten, Staff Writer

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The Robert Morris Women’s Basketball team has always been offensively talented. Whether from the starting five or reserves off the bench, the Colonials have always had the potential to put the ball in the net.

That potential was on display in the first round of the NEC Tournament against St. Francis of PA, as RMU rolled to a 92-82 win, including a 59 point effort in the second half. The point total is the most that the team has put up since 2008.

Briannica Tye led the way in Colonial scoring with a career high 27 points. The junior point guard potted 23 of those points in the second half alone.

For the first time since 2007, RMU had three Colonials come up with double-doubles, courtesy of Josette Campbell, Artemis Spanou and Mary Durojaye.

Campbell’s was the first such mark of her career, finishing with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Spanou continued her stellar play with 25 points and 14 boards, while Durojaye recorded 17 rebounds along with 15 points. The mark of 17 was a career high in that category for the lone senior on the team.

Robert Morris fell behind early in the first half, followed by a 10-0 run that included Jasmine Tate’s first two points of the season. The junior guard had been battling concussion issues throughout the campaign.

The Red Flash came back before the half was out, and led 39-33 going into the break.

The final 15 minutes saw RMU score 50 points, including leading by as many as 13 at one point, en route to the victory.

The 92 points scored is tied for most in an NEC Tournament game. It had been done three previous times, most recently in 1994.

With the win, the Colonials advanced to round two, heading on the road to face top-ranked Sacred Heart. The Pioneers were able to slow the Colonial offense and put an end to their NEC championship hopes, coming up with a 61-56 win.

Campbell led the way in the semifinal for RMU with 20 points while shooting 6 for 11 from three point range. Tye had 10 points on the day, while Durojaye finished her RMU career with one more double-double, with 10 points and rebounds, respectively.

Sacred Heart led heading into halftime, and pushed their lead to nine early on in the second stanza. Not to be outdone, the Colonials went on an 8-0 run to cut the lead to just one for SHU.

That would be as close as Robert Morris would come, as Sacred Heart stormed back to regain an eight point lead. The Colonials cut the lead to three, only to watch the Pioneers go back up by nine with time winding down.

Campbell and Kelly Hartwell combined to pull RMU back to within three with 15 seconds to go, but the hosts held on for the victory, advancing to the NEC Championship.

With only one senior leaving in Durojaye, the Colonials have every reason to believe they’ll be back next year for another shot at the conference title. Even if they have to score 92 points to do so.

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