Tuesday Morning ‘NEC Hoops Rewind’

The NEC women’s basketball schedule moved one game past the halfway point on Monday night. 

With all 12 teams in action, Sacred Heart and Quinnipiac continued their neck-and-neck race atop the league standings.

Saint Francis (PA) is starting to heat up, having won three of its last four, while Monmouth continues to surge with preseason all-NEC guard Alysha Womack back in the lineup.

Overtime! breaks it all down below.

 

Storylines in the Aftermath of a Monday on the Hardwood
Quinnipiac continued to roll, racking up its sixth win in a row by besting Mount St. Mary’s 89-73.  The Bobcats (8-2) kept pace with league leader, and Merritt Parkway rival, Sacred Heart (9-1). Ed Swanson’s Pioneers topped Wagner by a 10-point margin. QU and SHU clashed in the NEC Women’s Basketball Championship exactly five seasons ago with the latter pulling out a two-point win.  SHU went onto win another tournament crown in 2009, but the Bobcats have yet to return to the title tilt.  Could another postseason meeting be in the making?

Quinnipiac junior guard Felicia Barron led the team in scoring while picking up five steals in each of the Bobcats’ victories.  Now second amongst NEC leaders in scoring (17.6 ppg), Barron continues to top all NCAA Division I players in steals per game average (4.6 spg). While her team is streaking, Barron is putting together a nice little run of her own, having picked up her third consecutive Choice Hotels NEC Player of the Week award on Tuesday, Jan. 31.

LIU Brooklyn suffered a sweep on its trip through the Keystone State.  The Blackbirds, who have non-conference wins over the likes of Oklahoma State and Charlotte, have lost four of their last six NEC games and sit in a tie for eighth place.

Ashley Palmer did not start for LIU Brooklyn in its setback at Robert Morris.  The four-time Choice Hotels Player of the Week scored four points and dished out four assists in 18 minutes of action, but managed to maintain her place atop the NEC scoring leader board (18.6 ppg), one point per game better than Quinnipiac’s Felicia Barron. 

Monday night at the Sewall Center belonged to Robert Morris center Mary Durojaye who poured in 29 points, two off Palmer’s single-game NEC season high, in the 63-57 win. The 6-foot-3 Briton is a double-double threat every night out, averaging 13.9 points and 8.7 boards per game.

Highlights from Durojaye’s 29-point performance on Jan. 30…

 

 

The hot-handed Alexa Hayward has continued her scoring tear, doing so in back-to-back wins for Saint Francis (PA).  Helping the Red Flash move over the .500 mark in NEC play, Hayward averaged 21.0 points per contest in victories over LIU Brooklyn and St. Francis (NY).  The back-to-back NEC Choice Hotels Rookie of the Week has been the Flash’s top scorer in five of the last six games.

SFPA head coach Susan Robinson Fruchtl & Alexa Hayward talk about their latest triumph…

 

 

After snapping Monmouth’s eight-game win streak on Saturday, Bryant failed to make it a weekend sweep over the NEC’s Garden State contingent.  The Bulldogs watched Mariyah Laury pour in a game-high 21 points to lift Fairleigh Dickinson to a 54-43 victory.  FDU, Bryant, and Robert Morris are all tied for fifth in the NEC with 5-5 records.

Monmouth suffered its first loss since before Christmas, watching its eight-game win streak end at Bryant on Saturday.  Two days later, however, Alysha Womack and the Hawks rediscovered their winning ways.  Womack drilled the game-tying jumper with 31 seconds to go at Central Connecticut and was far from done.  The 5-foot-7 guard, who missed the season’s first 11 games due to injury, broke a 56-56 deadlock by nailing a three-pointer with 1.2 ticks left.  The Hawks are 9-1 since her return.

 

Overtime! Tweet of the Day
@gashaheen – NCAA individual team sheets: http://bit.ly/yj31ha. If we were any more transparent, you’d install us as replacement windows.

 

Video Vault
Postgame comments from SHU’s Blair Koniszewski on Jan. 30…

 

Highlights from FDU’s win over Bryant on Jan. 30…

 

Brenda Milano speaks on St. Francis’ upset win at Robert Morris (Jan. 28) and recent surge…

 

– Jan. 31, 2012 –

 

Scanning Twitter and News Outlets on a Sunday Morning


Overtime! Top Sunday Tweet

@bmac303 – “@Lov3lyLilz: “@gables012: I love my team” times a million ❤

 

Other top-rated Tweets
@JeaneCoakleySNY – Just passed the exit for #quinnipiac university…memories 🙂 http://pic.twitter.com/Qo13XJfk 

 

@misscaputo02 – I hate that there’s no football on today ): pro bowl doesn’t count.

 

@Rupes31 – Three-time Super Bowl Champion John Banaszak Named Next #RMU Football Coach.

 

@rmucoop44 – S/o to @Alex_D_GR8 leaving for Italy today, continuing on the path to his dream! Good luck bro I know you’ll keep me grounded wherever u are

 

 

Articles of Interest
Bryant snaps Monmouth women’s six-game streakAsbury Park Press

Steele’s 22 keys Monmouth winAsbury Park Press

Gibson scores 41, but SHU men fall in double OTConnecticut Post (Bill Paxton)

Kenny Ortiz gives Wagner men’s basketball 51-50 win overStaten Island Advance (Cormac Gordon)

Free throws lift Central men to much needed winNew Britain Herald (Matt Straub)

MU hoopsAsbury Park Press (Hawks Nest)

Arbogast lifts short-handed Central women New Britain Herald (Matt Straub)

 

 

– Jan. 29,, 2012 –

Tweets Tell Story of Another Saturday Night on the Hardwood

@JonRothstein – What a win for Glenn Braica as St. Francis NY beats Robert Morris on the road 81-68. Brooklyn with a few solid teams!

 

@JonRothstein – Kenny Ortiz FT lifts Wagner to 51-50 win at Quinnipiac. Danny Hurley’s squad now 17-4.

@BillCloutier – Ortiz free throw is difference with 4.6 seconds as Wagner tips Quinnipiac 51-50

Rp_primary_ortiz_action14_uconn

Kenny Ortiz (above) has hit a number of big shots this year for the surging Seahawks.

 

@Rupes31 – Gibson’s 41 Not Enough as SHU Falls in Double OT, 81-80, to the Mount – FAIRFIELD, CT (January 28, 2011) -… http://tmblr.co/ZZBSFxFZ5Pq6

@wspaxton – Shane Gibson’s 41 points and D-I record for #SHUhoops

@wspaxton – Josh Castellanos gives Mount a 81-80 lead with 6.8 left in 2OT against #SHUhoops

 

@Rupes31 – Pioneers Topple the Mount 72-54 – Fairfield, Conn.—Kiley Evans’ season-high 19 points helped lead the… http://tmblr.co/ZZBSFxFZ4ZEa

 

@QUAthletics – Congrats WBBall Bobcats! Good Luck Monday Night

via @youtube

 

 

 

@SFCTerriers – Coach Braica’s Robert Morris postgame comments 

 

 

@Eric_WorldPeace – @WagnerAthletics :@WagnerHoops with a clutch victory over QU today!

 

@kenny_barto – What a weekend for #CCSU sports. Both bball teams won today & @CCSUhockey won back to back games. See the photos here: http://flic.kr/ps/E6D59

 

@NECsports – Lets hear it for New York. NYC teams a combined 25-5 in #NECMBB play. @LIUBasketball (9-1), @SFCTerriers & @WagnerAthletics (8-2). #NECinNYC

 

@dhurley15 – So proud of @WagnerHoops after winning 2 on the road this weekend. 10th road win of the season today vs a tough Quinnipiac team.

@jmattera83 – John Mattera @dhurley15 great job coach see you guys Thursday night!

 

@jeffborzello – Crazy Saturday in college basketball — we catch you up on everything right here: http://bit.ly/wctOUT

NEC Hoops Thursday Night Tweets

@ncaastats – The Division I men’s basketball statistical leaders are updated at : http://bit.ly/6GmpAY

@JonRothstein – 23, 7 assists, 6 rebounds for Velton Jones as Robert Morris knocks off LIU to give Blackbirds 1st conference loss. Big win for @AndyToole.

@Jon Rothstein– Velton Jones is a like a fullback at point guard for Robert Morris. Dominating the first half for @AndyToole right now vs. LIU.

@VeltonJones2 – I wanna thank every fan that come to #PackTheChuck tonight it was great. You guys helped with that W as well. Let’s do it again Saturday

@wspaxton – Murray 5-for-5 from 3-point range, Wagner leads #SHUhoops in #NEC

@wspaxton – #SHUhoops just 1 of 15 from 3-point range – a season low. Wagner leads 63-47 with 4:29 left in #NEC

@wspaxton – Tyler Murray scores 21 points to lead Wagner over #SHUhoops 73-54 in NEC

@SFUathletics – Strong Second Half Cannot Rescue Red Flash http://bit.ly/wLIxw2

@BillCloutier – #Quinnipiac pulls it out in overtime, beats Mount St. Mary’s 69-66 in #NEC

@zschonbrun – Wagner won its 9th game on the road last nite, most in D-1. To celebrate, @dhurley15 ‘s team is stuck in a Marriott in CT w/ no power #chess

@dhurley15 – Good road win for @WagnerHoops last night against a good Sacred Heart team. Conference road wins are big. Overall 9th road win-most in D-1.

@MUHawks – All 9 Hawks who played scored at least 4 pts for MU. Hawks led by Steele’s 12 pts and 5 assts.

@MUHawks – Hawks move to 3-6 in the NEC with key road win at CCSU

@MUHawks – MU’s first NEC road win since Feb. 12, 2011 at FDU

 

– Jan. 27, 2012 –

NEC Title Game Rematch Makes for Great Night & Worthwhile Road Trip

Overtime! copy editor Ralph Ventre, or @NECralph as he is known to the Twitter World, traveled out to Robert Morris for Thursday night’s NEC-TV game between the Colonials and LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds.  Below are some thoughts on what he witnessed.

 

As our Dodge Durango rental car passed mile marker 146 on the Pennsylvania turnpike, he looked over to me and uttered “What am I doing?”

The “he” was my boss, and we were nearly two-thirds of the way through a 350-mile drive in somewhat arduous conditions.

When he said it, I must admit, I was a bit puzzled since he didn’t appear to be doing much at all besides checking e-mail via iPhone throughout much of the ride.

When I asked him to explain, he responded with words to the effect of “I could have just sent you out on this drive and been home with my family, but something inside of me thought it would be a great idea to spend six hours in a car with you to see a basketball game!”

Well, he, as a senior administrator, is right in the sense that he certainly didn’t have to make the trip.  After all, what did he hire me for?

But the true answer to his “What am I doing?” question is simple.  He is crazy!

Crazy about Northeast Conference hoops.

And with a matchup like the one last night, being played in one of the best mid-major college hoops atmospheres I’ve ever witnessed, how could you blame him?

As soon as we stepped into The Chuck, or the Charles Sewall Center as it’s officially named, more than two hours before tip-off, the sounds of Fergie started playing in my head. Yes, I had a feeling, that tonight’s gonna be a good, good night.

And, (surprise, surprise) I was right.

The play was choppy at times, but the buzz in the building never subsided.  Robert Morris led wire-to-wire but needed some big shots to quell a surge by defending NEC champion LIU Brooklyn.

Whether it was Velton Jones making one of his patented pitbull-like drives to the basket or Coron Williams knocking down a key 3, the fans who #PackedTheChuck had plenty to cheer about. 

They also had a chance to see LIU’s Julian Boyd, up close and personal.  That in itself is quite the treat.

Boyd may suffer from a heart ailment, but this guy plays with plenty of heart.  Combine that inner drive with a tremendous skill set and a great physical attributes and you have quite the player.  Despite his team losing for the first time in 19 consecutive NEC regular season games, Boyd had a typical night – 25 points, 12 rebounds and 8-for-11 shooting.

The most-impressive performance in my eyes, however, didn’t come from Jones, Williams, or Boyd.  It came from the 6th man.  The breadth and enthusiasm level of the crowd was unlike I’d ever seen in my many, many prior trips out to #TheChuck.

Oh, and if you were wondering, my boss was happy he came.

 

NEC-TV Game of the Week (LIU Brooklyn at Robert Morris)
Play of the Night
With LIU on a 10-0 run that whittled RMU’s lead down to five points with under 3:00 to play, Velton Jones penetrated and dropped off a perfect pass for Lijah Thompson.  The power forward converted the easy layup and the foul.

 

Fan(s) of the Game
The Sewall Center was exuding school spirit Thursday night, only hours after Twitter was overflowing with #PackTheChuck tweets.  @RMUcoop44 and @hEy_m0lly tweeted the talk and walked the walked.  They promised the Twitter World they would be in attendance on Thursday, and they made good on their word.  Overtime! staffers spotted both of these #ColonialsCrazies, proudly wearing white and screaming for their team.

 

The Video Highlights

 

Articles of Interest
Myers Keitt seals it in OTAsbury Park Press

Colonials shoo away Blackbirds in NEC clashBeaver County Times (Mike Bires)

Sacred Heart goes cold from outside in loss to WagnerConnecticut Post (Bill Paxton)

Robert Morris men slow NEC leader Long Island at SewallPittsburgh Tribune-Review (Paul Schofield)

Colonials avenge title game loss, down LIU 75-66RMU Sentry (Nick Buzzelli)

 

Video Vault
This feature on RMU’s Velton Jones ran at halftime of LIU-RMU MBB game on Jan. 26…

 

– Jan. 27, 2012 –

‘NEC Hoops Rewind’

LIU Brooklyn, Monmouth, and Quinnipiac each produced NEC weekend sweeps, but failed to shake up the standings in the process.  The race at the top is tighter with three teams separated by a total of 1.0 game.  Then, there is a six-team tie for fourth.

We are one game away from the midway point of the league schedule and each of the NEC’s 12 teams will have 10 more games to sort things out.  Only eight of them, however, will be playing come March.

Although a clearer glimpse at the undeveloped postseason picture is not one of them, Overtime! provides five interesting storylines for the NEC’s women of the hardwood.


5 NEC Hardwood Happenings
Monmouth and Quinnipiac remained red hot in NEC play last week and are nipping at Sacred Heart’s heels as a result.
  Monmouth topped Saint Francis (PA) and Robert Morris in a pair of tussles at the Jersey Shore with the results extending Jenny Palmateer’s Hawks’ win streak to eight in a row.  Meanwhile, Quinnipiac beat Bryant and then handed Sacred Heart its first NEC loss of the season to move within 1.0 game of the first-place Pioneers (7-1).  Monmouth (6-2) and Quinnipiac (6-2) sit in a tie for second place log jam following as six teams sport 4-4 league records.

 

Callan Taylor put up a pair of double-doubles last week.  Nothing unexpected from the NCAA’s active leader in career double-doubles.  Taylor, who averaged 13.5 points and 13.0 rebounds per game in contests against Central Connecticut and Quinnipiac, has reached double figures in two statistical categories during the same game a whopping 49 times during her Pioneer career.  Her 11 double-doubles thus far this season tie RMU forward Artemis Spanou for the league lead.

 

Felicia Barron is clinging to a narrowing lead in her race to become the NCAA individual statistically steals champion.  The Bobcats’ 5-foot-7 point guard is averaging a nation-leading 4.5 thefts per contest, just ahead of the 4.4 spg average that Bethune Cookman’s Demetria Frank owns.

 

Callan Taylor broke the 1,000-rebound barrier against Quinnipiac on Jan. 23.  She pulled down 15 boards in the game, raising her career total to exactly 1,000 rebounds.  LIU Brooklyn senior Ashley Palmer isn’t far off Taylor’s pace.   Palmer has 933 career rebounds, and, with her current 8.5 rebounds per game average, Palmer should add her name to the 1,000-rebound Club by season’s end.  Palmer, LIU’s all-time scoring leader (1,838 points), stands 162 points shy of 2,000 for her career.  Only NEC Hall of Famer Jess Zinobile (Saint Francis [PA]) has amassed 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career during the league’s 26-year history of women’s hoops.

 

Monmouth’s current surge follows up what was a slow start for the Hawks in their first season under head coach Jenny Palmateer.  Monmouth lost eight of its first 11 games during the Palmateer era, but played all 11 without the services of preseason all-NEC guard Alysha Womack.  Since Womack’s return on Dec. 29, the Hawks have yet to lose.  The junior guard has slowly taken on more of a role in the Hawks’ rotation as time has transpired.  Just Saturday (Jan. 21), Womack exploded for a season-high 27 points in a 75-66 triumph over Robert Morris.

 

Here’s what Palmateer had to say following the latest triumph…

 

MBB Update
Bryant played the lone men’s game on Monday’s hoops slate.  The Bulldogs fell, 67-60, to Ocean State rival Brown from the Ivy League.  Here are some highlights…

 

Video Vault

 
Host FDU fell to Robert Morris in The Rothman…

 

Bryant rallied, but suffered a home loss to Central Connecticut…

 

 

 

– Jan. 24, 2012 –

 

Robert Morris Lays Out Plan for Football Program; Walton to Hand Banaszak Reins Come 2014

Robert Morris announced its post-Walton plan on Tuesday. 

Just the thought of Robert Morris football without legendary head coach Joe Walton is a tough concept to process.  After all, Joe is the only coach the program has ever known since its inception in 1994 and the six-time Northeast Conference champion is No Ordinary Joe.

Walton and the Colonials carried the torch for the Northeast Conference at two critical junctures of the league’s postseason history.

After leading RMU to the inaugural NEC title in 1996, Walton and the Colonials represented the league in the ECAC Bowl against cross-town rival and then-MAAC member Duquesne.  Underdogs going up against a well-established Duquesne program with a history dating back to 1902, Robert Morris and their former NFL head coach pulled out a 28-26 win. 

Fast forward to 2010 when the NEC received automatic access to the NCAA FCS playoffs for the first time in its history.  Walton and the Colonials happen to win the league title again that season, the porgram’s sixth, and carried the banner up against North Dakota State before 18,000-plus fans in the Fargodome during the 2010 FCS First Round.

Walton after RMU clinched the 2010 NEC title…

Walton_02

 

Walton, a former All-American tight end for Pitt, has been beloved in football circles out in western Pennsylvania.  After a playing career that included stints with the New York Giants and Washington Redskins, Walton served as head coach of the New York Jets from 1983 through 1989 and made a pair of NFL Wildcard playoff appearances with the club.

Robert Morris issued a press release in the midst of the 2011 season, announcing a two-year extension for Walton with a pending retirement slated for 2013.  The deal allows the godfather of RMU football to remain at the helm for the 2012 and 2013 campaigns before calling it quits.

Following the 2013 season, Walton will hand the reins to another western Pennsylvania football legend with NFL credentials.

For 2014 will finally be John Banaszak’s time.

In a Tuesday, Jan. 24 press conference, RMU Director of Athletics Craig Coleman, M.D., announced RMU Assistant Head Football Coach John Banaszak as the program’s coach-in-waiting.

Banaszak has been a member of Walton’s staff for the past nine years and has spent that time mentoring a number of decorated defensive linemen that include Academic All-Americans Ray Gensler and Nolan Nearhoof.

The 1975 graduate of Eastern Michigan spent four successful seasons at the helm of D-III Washington & Jefferson prior to signing on at RMU.

Banaszak (pictured below) has a trio of Super Bowl rings from his days as a d-lineman with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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RMU AD  Craig Coleman on the announcement…

“Coach Walton has done a tremendous job starting the program from scratch and developing it to its current level,” Coleman said. “We are blessed to have another outstanding coach on our staff in Coach Banaszak to provide leadership and excellence when Walton retires.”

 

Footage from John Banaszak Press Conference (Jan. 24)

 

 

– Jan. 24, 2012 –