Women’s Basketball Falls to Mount St. Mary’s in O.T.

By Julian Bell
Sports Writer

(HACKENSACK) – The women’s basketball team fell to Mount St. Mary’s 71-75 in overtime on a home Saturday afternoon game on Feb. 18, when they were unable to clinch the final seconds of the game.

Coach Cinella said the Knights had a chance.

“The second half was really a back-and-forth type of game and Courtney Blankenship hit a couple of big three’s for us to put that in position to tie that and then in overtime, you have to give Alexis Carter credit. She just hit some really big shots to have five three’s in that game,” said Knights Head Coach Peter J. Cinella following the tough loss.

The Knights secured a 5-0 lead early on in the first quarter after Kiana Brown knocked down a three-pointer good from downtown. FDU continued to dominate the first period holding Mount St. Mary’s to only five points by the start of the second quarter 13-5. The Knights’ strong performance was soon outmatched once the Mountaineers took the lead later in the first half. Despite falling to the Mount, FDU dominated under the basket, according to Cinella.

“We rebounded pretty well all night 44-27,” Cinella said. “That’s a huge margin to out-rebound someone so we really rebounded well and we shot the ball pretty well too. We just had a few defensive miscues.”

Mount St. Mary’s (10-16, 8-7 NEC) led 29-28 at the half. The Mountaineers got seven points from Alexis Carter in the first half and eight points from Caroline Hummel in the second. Carter also led the Mount in overtime scoring, putting down eight points to upset the Knights at home.  Fairleigh Dickinson (8-18, 6-9 NEC) shot 43.5 percent (10-23) from the field in the first half and remained consistent shooting 42.9 percent in the final two quarters. FDU’s defense also required some adjustments that according to Cinella, would have helped them throughout the game.

Coach Cinella believes FDU could have been more proactive throughout the game.

“We wanted to be a little be a little bit more aggressive,” Cinella said. “And then on the defensive side we wanted try to get a few more steals.”

The Knights were once again able to make it a one point game at the end of the third period, trailing the Mountaineers 45-46. After the Mount extended their lead by six points in the fourth quarter, the Knights gradually tied the game up after a three-pointer made by Courtney Blankenship put the game at an even 64. Brianna Thomas also knocked down some three’s in order to bring FDU back into the contest.

Cinella said that the Knights could have come back.

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“Briana Thomas hit a big three to put us up,” he said. “And then Carter hit those two three’s to really put the game away. That was to gain a four point lead. We were up one and she hit the back-to-back three’s.”

The Mountaineers overcame the Knights in overtime led by Alexis Carter who went a perfect two-for-two in three pointers. FDU trailed Mount St. Mary’s by two 64-66 in overtime until Brianna Thomas put up a three-pointer with 4:21 remaining to play.

With the Knights narrowly leading the game 67-66 Carter shot a jumper good from the paint to put the Mount up by one. The Knights were able to tie the game up once again at an even 68 with 3:02 left in the contest. Carter responded by knocking down two three’s from way downtown leaving FDU unable to regain another lead.

Mount St. Mary’s shot 40.9 percent (9-22) in the second half and 75 percent (3-4) in their overtime victory. Alexis Carter scored a career high of 22 points in her romp over the Knights. Caroline Hummel and Mikal Johnson helped pace the Mount scoring 14 and 12 points respectively. The Mountaineers also scored 21 points off of turnovers compared to FDU who scored 16.

Brianna Thomas paced the Knights in field goals putting up 17 points on the afternoon. Thomas also led the team in rebounds with nine. Lauren Francillon trailed her teammate with six rebounds in FDU’s strong performance. Freshman forward Courtney Blankenship scored 12 points against the Mountaineers and knocked down five three pointers that day.

The Knights are back in action when they take on St. Francis on Saturday, Feb. 25 in Loretto, Pa. The game is scheduled at 4 p.m. as FDU battles their way through the NEC.