They are two-thirds of the way home!
All 12 NEC women’s basketball teams were in action on Monday night (Feb. 6) and the results resulted in more of the same – a logjam in the league standings.
The top two teams in the NEC standings – Sacred Heart and Quinnipiac — both lost in the Garden State last night and are now clinging onto their current positions by a 1.0-game margin.
Sacred Heart (10-2) remains in first followed by second-place Quinnipiac (9-3), but here’s where it starts to get really hairy.
Monmouth (8-4) and Saint Francis (PA) (8-4) find themselves in a deadlock for third place followed by a four-way tie for fifth – Bryant, LIU Brooklyn, Robert Morris and Fairleigh Dickinson are all 6-6 in league play. Meanwhile, Central Connecticut (5-7) and Mount St. Mary’s (5-7), both winners Monday night, are nipping at their heels.
Why is this important you ask?
Well, only eight of the 12 teams will qualify for the postseason NEC Tournament, the winner of which will receive an automatic berth to the Big Dance.
Oh, and all NEC Tournament games are played at the home facility of the higher seed. Therefore, the top four finishers in the NEC standings are guaranteed to host a quarterfinal round matchup.
Four Storylines That Developed on Monday Night
Alli Williams poured in a season-high 28 points to carry Saint Francis (PA) to a fourth straight victory that moved the Flash into a third-place tie in the NEC standings. Half of Williams’ points in the 85-68 win over Wagner came at the free throw line where she went a perfect 14-for-14. The second-year Red flash forward has made 93 freebies this season, second-most in t he NEC to only LIU Brooklyn’s Ashley Palmer (104).
There were times on Monday night when Quinnipiac could not find answer to Fairleigh Dickinson or its freshman forward. FDU put together a 23-5 second-half run to erase a double-digit deficit and send Quinnipiac to its first loss in its last eight games. After Quinnipiac took its largest lead, 40-24, with 19:01 remaining in the second half, FDU out-scored the Bobcats by 18 points over the next 9:59 to take a 47-45 lead, its first advantage since the game’s opening minute. Fittingly, FDU freshman forward Erika Livermore started the explosion with a layup at the 18:44 mark. Livermore finished with 23 points and 14 rebounds. In a two-game stretch against the NEC’s top-two ranked teams (Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart), Livermore averaged 20.0 points and 10.5 rebound per outing.
Top Plays from FDU’s win over QU…
It wasn’t enough to help Robert Morris climb the Mount on Monday night, but Artemis Spanou turned in 13 points and 12 rebounds for her 13th double-double of the season during an 80-75 setback at Knott Arena. Spanou, who was part of a furious RMU rally that cut a 15-point deficit down to three with 17 seconds remaining in regulation at Mount St. Mary’s, moved back into a tie with Sacred Heart’s Callan Taylor for the league-lead in doubled-doubles. Taylor notched her 13th double-double in a win over Fairleigh Dickinson on Feb. 4. (It was brought to our attention by an Overtime! reader, but Callan Taylor has surpassed the half-century mark in career double-doubles. The 6-foot-1 forward from Kansas recorded 38 double-doubles over her first three seasons in a Pioneer uniform and has run that number to 51 this year. And, yes, that is a NEC individual career record!)
Monmouth fell to Quinnipiac on Feb. 4, suffering only its second loss since the return of junior guard Alysha Womack. The Hawks returned to their winning ways two days later, however, and Womack was right in the middle of the 70-50 victory over first-place Sacred Heart. The 5-foot-7 sparkplug poured in a game-high 27 points and moved even closer to making Hawks’ history in the process. Womack, who led the Hawks in scoring as a freshman and sophomore before missing the first 11 contests of her junior season due to injury, has scored 971 points in her two-plus season at the Jersey Shore and is on pace to join the 1,000-point club by season’s end.
Alysha Womack’s return has sparked Monmouth to a 10-2 record.
– Feb. 7, 2012 –