By ADMIR DURAKOVIC
(HACKENSACK) – The women’s basketball team has started the season extremely well, reaching a 4-0 record for the first time since the ‘91-’92 season. However, on Nov. 16 the Knights hit their first hurdle of their campaign when they came up short against the Stony Brook Seawolves, 56-51.
The starting point guards for both teams got their teams on the scoreboard to start the game. FDU junior Natalie Zamora scored the first basket of the game from behind the 3-point line. Stony Brook junior Shania Johnson quickly responded with a 3-pointer of her own to tie the game at three. That quick exchange would tell the story for the rest of the first half as neither team could break away and hold a lead. The teams headed into the second quarter tied at nine points.
Johnson started the second quarter similar to the first, ring a 3-pointer to give her team an early lead. Knight’s sophomore forward Courtney Blankenship got in on the three point action to respond with a 3-pointer of her own to tie the game once more.
With four minutes remaining in the second quarter, Johnson hit two consecutive 3-pointers to give her team a six point lead, the biggest lead of the game. The Seawolves slightly out- performed the Knights from behind the arc, shooting 5-18 for 36 percent, compared to the Knight’s 3-18 for 17 percent.
Johnson finished the game with 23 points and four assists, the only member on her team to reach double digit figures in points. Johnson was influential as the Seawolves pushed the Knights in transition, which led to a good percentage of their points.
The Knights performed at a much slower tempo with their only points in transition coming from a Zamora steal in the second half. Three players finished with double-digit points as starters Zamora and senior forward Amina Markovic nished with 10 and 15 points respectively. Sophomore Lauren Francillion contributed 10 points coming off the bench.
Amina Markovic was a key figure for the team both inside the arc and on both ends of the floor. On offense Markovic shot 5-10 from the eld and made five of her six free throws. Markovic also recorded six defensive rebounds to contribute to her total of eight, which led the team. She also led the team in blocks, twice denying the Seawolves points in the paint.
The Knights kept up with the Stony Brook’s fast paced offense for the entire second half, despite never holding a lead of more than two points. With 50 seconds left and the Knights behind by 2, Zamora gathered a defensive rebound and attempted to hit the go- ahead three. Her shot missed the mark and the rebound was claimed by Markovic, who was fouled and sent to the free throw line. She made the first free throw to bring the lead down to one, but missed her second shot to hold the score at 50-49.
With 24 seconds left, the Knights sent Seawolves’ junior guard Jerrell Matthews to line who managed to make both free throws to secure the victory for Stony Brook. The Seawolves took two more trips to the line and shot 6-6 in total from the line in clutch time.
The Knights have since earned a 5-2 record
on the season, after wins against Colgate University and Longwood University, and a loss against Howard University in Washington, D.C.