Beyond the buzz of Ashley Palmer’s record-setting week and Abby Martin’s monster Monday night showing, there was Bryant’s Naana Ankoma-Mensa.
The sophomore forward was busy carrying the Bulldogs to a 3-0 week, one that brought Bryant to the 10-win plateau for the fourth consecutive season, its last of the NCAA-mandated reclassifying process into the Division I ranks.
Imposing her will on opposing players in the post, Ankoma-Mensa averaged 17.7 points and 10.0 rebounds per contest.
With Bryant facing two of the conference’s premier forwards in back-to-back games, it was Ankoma-Mensa who stole the headlines. First, defending NEC champion Saint Francis (PA) and forward Alli Williams came to Smithfield, only to be turned away by the Bulldogs and their rising star.
The 6-foot forward scored 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting against the Flash, only to top that performance two days later when Robert Morris and 2011 NEC Rookie of the Year Artemis Spanou came into “The Chace.”
Ankoma-Mensa poured in 21 to help sink the Colonials and finished one rebound shy of a double-double.
Highlights of Bryant’s win over Robert Morris…
The NEC’s fourth-leading rebounder (9.4 rpg) turned in the back-to-back impressive performances against what should be considered quality competition.
Saint Francis (PA) and Robert Morris finished No. 1 and No. 2 in the NEC preseason coaches’ poll this past fall, but those credentials did little to intimidate Mary Burke’s young Bulldogs who have only four upperclassmen on their roster.
Set to officially become full-fledged Division I members at season’s end, the Bryant Bulldogs have arrived and with players like Ankona-Mensa, they aren’t leaving anytime soon.
Another First-Class Effort Puts Palmer in First Place
Ashley Palmer had already scored more points than any other NEC player in a game this season. Now, she has scored more points than any other player in LIU history.
The 5-foot-10 forward turned in her second 30-point performance of the season, leading her team to a win at Quinnipiac and surpassing Tamika Dudley to become the all-time scoring leader in Blackbird annals.
One point short of the NEC single-game high 31 points she poured in against Cal Poly, Palmer scored 30 points on 13-for-21 shooting and also pulled down 13 boards.
Surpassing Dudley (1,745), the 2001 NEC Tournament MVP, on the Blackbirds’ all-time chart, Palmer has amassed 1,772 points over three-plus seasons.
If she maintains her league-leading 20.2 ppg pace, Palmer could become the fourth player in NEC history to break the 2,000-point barrier. NEC Hall of Famer Jess Zinobile (Saint Francis [PA]) is the league’s top all-time scorer. The former draft pick of the WNBA’s Sacramento Monarchs totaled 2,338 points during her illustrious collegiate career.
Martin’s Monster Monday Sparks Monmouth to 59-52 Win over Mount
Those watching on Fox College Sports and ESPN3 last Saturday (Jan. 7) saw a short-handed Monmouth team make its way past Outer Bridge rival Wagner. The Hawks were without junior center Abby Martin who was unable to make the game due to a personal matter. Fortunately for Monmouth fans, and rather unfortunately for Mount St. Mary’s, Martin returned the Multi-Purpose Activity Center on Monday night. Despite having not seen game action in more than a week, Martin was anything but rusty. The New Jersey product, who hails from Maplewood, topped the Mount with a 22-point, 14-rebound performance.
Here’s what head coach Jenny Palmateer and Martin had to say following the “W” …
Overtime! Tweet of the Day
@meg_theDOBO – @KayYowFund of course I have! I just signed my team @MUHawksWBB up for a donation page & registered our #play4kay game!
Other Top-rated Tweets
@LarissaHouk – This teacher looks like johnny cash.
@steelcitygirl14 – I hear little kids playing outside…shouldn’t they be in school? #NotASnowDay
@atupem10 – It’s a new season of jersey shore?
@wolliemalsh – You don’t know pain until you have swam outside in 45 degree weather
Editor’s Note: From Johnny Cash to Jersey Shore, you can see that NEC students and alumni are up on their pop culture. Also, you have got to love the good things Monmouth women’s basketball has been doing for the community.
Articles of Interest
MU women’s hoops win fourth in row – Asbury Park Press (Hawks Nest)
MU men’s hoops scouting report vs. Harvard POLL and My prediction – Asbury Park Press (Hawks Nest)
Lustig enjoys good start at Robert Morris – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Bruce Wald)
No. 2 Alabama beats No. 1 LSU 21-0 for BCS title – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (AP)
NCAA’s Emmert: Minor changes should survive convention – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (AP)
BREAKING IN THE NEWS NOW
The Staten Island Advance has received word that Wagner head baseball coach Joe Litterio is leaving to take a position at Rutgers. The program has reached new heights over the past decade under Litterio’s watch. Highlights from his tenure include the 2009 NEC regular season championship as well as coaching two-time AL All-Star Andrew Bailey.
Wagner College baseball coach Litterio departing to take Rutgers assistant job – Staten Island Advance (Jim Waggoner)