By Anthony Covino
The No. 3-seeded FDU Knights advanced to the Northeast Conference women’s basketball semifinals with a 57-43 win against No. 6 Bryant in the tourney quarterfinals at Rothman Center Monday night.
This is the first time since 1992 the Knights will be in the semifinals.
The next round is Thursday where the Knights play at No. 2 Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers, an 80-47 quarters winner over LIU, in Emmitsburg, Md. The Knights have won 5 of their last 7 games, including a 66-63 win over the Mountaineers on March 5, to improve to 13-17.
“The keys to the game were not getting outrebounded, we did, but it was not as bad as the last game we played against them, and we got to the line more than that, and those were the two main keys to winning today’s game and overall we did a great job.” FDU first-year head coach Angelika Szumilo said.
Freshman guard Maria Roters led the way for the Knights with 14 points, while senior forward Lauren Francillon added 10 points. Sophomore guard Rachel Niles added 9 points.
“It’s definitely been a process this year, I think one of the biggest parts this year to attest my growth is the talks I’ve had with Coach Ang about the little things like confidence in myself my teammates have my back, communication, and positive attitude. These things go a really long way.” Francillon said.
“Coach Ang always had high expectations for me, that really helped me grow and do the little things like chasing down a rebound, she says its doesn’t matter how short you are, it’s the effort you put in and that’s what really helped me grow this season,” Niles said.
Before the quarterfinals, Francillon was named second team all-NEC, Roters made the NEC all-rookie Team, and Niles was named NEC’s most improved player for the year.
FDU shot 21-55 (38.2%) from the field, 5-16 (31.3%) from three, and 10-15 (66.7%) from the free-throw line.
Senior guard/forward Sydney Holloway led the Bulldogs (10-20) with 10 points and 12 rebounds and junior center Brooke Bjelko added 10 points.
Bryant shot 16-53 (30.2%) from the field, 2-11 (18.2%) from three, and were a perfect 9-9 (100%) from the free throw line.
Attendance was recorded at 539 — remarkable for spring break and fears of the coronavirus.