Rookies Rule Saturday’s Slate of NEC Women’s Hoops – Pankey, Norman, McQuain, and Spanou All Part of League Wins

Robert Morris’ Artemis Spanou has won the Choice Hotels NEC Rookie of the Week award five times already this season, but the freshman forward from Greece isn’t the lone rookie stirring up excitement during Northeast Conference play.

Danielle Pankey, Erica Norman, and Brittany McQuain were all in the middle of NEC victories on Saturday. 

Pankey scored 16 points in Fairleigh Dickinson’s 69-49 win over St. Francis (NY).  The former All-Shore Conference high school player at New Jersey’s Middletown South did not miss a single shot against the Terriers.  She went 4-for-4 from the field and 7-of-7 from the line, scoring in double figures for the third time in the last six NEC games.

Norman produced her second double-digit scoring performance since Sacred Heart lost former NEC Player of the Year (2009), and two-time all-NEC point guard, Alisa Apo to a season-ending injury.  The 5-foot-7 freshman contributed 12 points, five assists, and four rebounds to the Pioneers’ home win over the defending NEC champion Saint Francis (PA), which entered the contest tied atop the NEC standings at 7-1.  Norman, who has logged time in all 20 Sacred Heart’s games this season, has made 11 starts, nine of which have come since Apo went down in a win over Harvard on December 20.

McQuain, the reigning Choice Hotels NEC Rookie of the Week, pulled down more than 10 boards for the second straight game.  She had seven points and seven assists to go with the 12 rebounds. The 5-foot-11 forward is averaging 7.9 ppg and 6.1 rpg while averaging just under 21 minutes per contest.

Spanou failed to score in double figures for the first time in her last nine games, but nearly notched what would have been the forward’s NEC-leading seventh double-double.  She had nine points and nine rebounds as Robert Morris knocked off Quinnipiac in a battle of 7-1 teams.

Albeit in a losing effort, Saint Francis (PA) freshman Alexandra Williams had 13 points and seven rebounds on the road.  The forward has scored no fewer than 10 points in three of her last four league contests.  Williams, who has played mostly in a reserve role, enjoyed her best stretch of the season when she scored 29 and 22 points in back-to-back December wins over Kent State and Coppin State.

Mount St. Mary’s Ashley Christie made four three-pointers on her way to 18 points in an overtime setback at Bryant.  The freshman guard has started all 20 of the Mount’s games thus far this season, averaging 9.6 ppg.  Christie leads the Mount into its Monday evening meeting with Central Connecticut, which can be seen LIVE on NortheastConference.TV.  The broadcast tips off at 7:00 pm on January 31.  Matt Harmon will handle the play-by-play duties while former Seton Hall head coach Phyllis Mangina will provide color commentary.

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