By Sheldon Gomes
The Knights kicked off their 2021-22 NEC playoff run with a convincing 66-58 victory versus the Sacred Heart Pioneers.
After giving up a three to Adrianne Hagood to start the contest, FDU would quickly capture the lead with a jumper from Madison Stanley and two free throws from Aniya Bell. From there, it was all FDU maintaining their lead until the final buzzer sounded.
FDU shot a decent 25-58 (43.1%) in the game overall but struggled a bit from three going just 6-21 (28.6%) They also converted ten of their 15 free throw attempts (66.7%) The struggle from three point distance would ultimately only factor into how close the game was, but the Knights came out determined and there was very little doubt that they wouldn’t be able to pull out a victory.
SHU was held to 24-55 (43.6%) shooting and just 4-18 (22.2 %) from beyond the arc. They also missed out on some opportunities at the free-throw line going just 6-12 (50%). It should also be noted that FDU forced the Pioneers to turn the ball over 13 times, which would prove significant as they came up with 18 of their 66 points off of those turnovers.
Three familiar names led the charge in the quarterfinals for the Knights as they had done all regular season, Aniya Bell, Chloe Wilson, and NEC player of the year Madison Stanley. Bell would finish as the team’s leading scorer, coming away with 20 points on 6-10 shooting overall and 4-6 shooting from three, and also pulled a game-high eight rebounds. Stanley had herself a great performance on both ends of the court, totaling 19 points on efficient 7-11 shooting and blocking three shots as she anchored the Knights’ defense. Wilson also provided a big spark with her 15 points and helped her team on the boards as she grabbed seven rebounds.
Maiya Bergdorf would finish with a team high 13 points and eight rebounds for SHU followed by 11 points and four assists from Sonya Smith. Olivia Tucker and Asia McCray also combined for 18 points in the loss.
Last year, the Knights ran into number one seed, Mount St. Mary’s in the semifinals of the NEC tournament. This year the Knights will enter the semifinals as the No. 1 seed and are looking to knock off Bryant to secure a spot in the NEC championship game. This second round matchup will take place on Thursday, Mar. 10 at 7 p.m. in Stratis Arena.
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The Knights defeated Sacred Heart 66-58 on Monday, March 7.
Art by Sheldon Gomes