Anthony Covino photo
FDU senior guard Lucia Serrano-Ranz scored a career-high 12 points in the Knights’ 68-49 playoff clinching victory over LIU Brooklyn Thursday night.
By ANTHONY COVINO and JUSTIN RIMPI
Sports Staff Writers
The Knights clinched the eighth and final seed in the Northeast Conference women’s basketball tournament with a 68-49 win over LIU Brooklyn on Senior Day Thursday night in the Rothman Center.
The Knights controlled their destiny with a win-and-in scenario entering the contest, squeaking into the NEC playoffs at the eleventh hour with their second-straight win.
The Knights (8-21 overall and 5-13 in the NEC) travel to Moon Township, Pa., to take on No. 1 seed Robert Morris on Monday, March 11.
The Knights ended the regular season with one of their best offensive performances on Senior Day. Senior guards Lucia Serrano-Ranz, Madelynn Comly, Natalie Zamora, Peniel M’Bikata as well as senior forward Emmanuella Edoka were all honored pregame with a ceremony.
The Knights went into halftime leading 37-15, with the game firmly in their grasp, hitting 48 percent of their shots from the field and 55 percent from 3-point range in the first half.
Zamora and Serrano-Ranz paced the Knights with 10 and 7 points, respectively, in the opening half.
“Congratulations to all the seniors for making the playoffs four straight years,” said FDU head coach Peter Cinella. “I really liked how the seniors came out and took care of business with a 8-0 run and got us that 20-point lead at halftime. There was an opportunity for all 15 players to get in there and make some positive contributions. We were pretty sharp on offense and defense as well.”
The Knights shot 43 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3-point territory for the game.
The Knights were led by Natalie Zamora and Lucia Serrano-Ranz with 12 points each. Sophomore forward Madison Stanley added 10 points.
Freshman guard Brandy Thomas led LIU Brooklyn with 25 points and 14 rebounds. Thomas scored 12 of the Blackbirds’ 15 points in the first half.
Zamora and Serrano-Ranz went 3-for-3 as a tandem from deep in the first half.
Sophomore guard Tia Montagne added 11 points. LIU missed all 14 of its 3-point attempts.
As every senior contributed in game, the Knights bench got out of their seats and cheered. When all 15 Knight had their chance to play and enter the box score, the bench continued to cheer as the final seconds ticked down to a ticket to the playoffs.