Robert Morris women clinch third place in Northeast Conference
February 29, 2016 10:20 PM
RMU's Jocelynne Jones puts up a shot during Monday night's win against Saint Francis.
By Megan Ryan / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Robert Morris women’s basketball team put together it best first-half performance of the season as it sealed third place in the Northeast Conference.
The Colonials (17-12, 11-7) never trailed in a 57-43 victory against Saint Francis (Pa.) Monday night at Sewall Center in the regular-season finale.
In the first half. Robert Morris limited Saint Francis (13-16, 11-7) to 19.2 percent from the field, allowing just five field goals. Both were season lows for the Colonials, who led by as many as 20 points before ending the half in front by 36-20.
“We were really motivated,” coach Sal Buscaglia said. “Our offense seems to be clicking. I think right now, we’re playing our best basketball.”
The substantial first-half lead helped Robert Morris stave off a Red Flash comeback in the third quarter, when Saint Francis outscored Robert Morris, 18-12.
Junior guard Anna Niki Stamolamprou ended with a game-high 16 points, while sophomore center Mikalah Mulrain was close to a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds. Stamolamprou said she had extra motivation to play well since her mother traveled from her native Greece to see her daughter play in the United States for the first time.
“The last time we played them, we had a terrible game overall,” Mulrain said. “They outplayed us, so we knew for this game coming in as being our last conference game, we had to really show up.”
Freshman guard Jessica Kovatch scored 11 points for Saint Francis.
The Colonials will play host to No. 6 seed Fairleigh Dickinson (11-20, 8-10) at 1 p.m. Sunday in the NEC tournament quarterfinals. This is the 11th time in the past 12 season Robert Morris has qualified for the postseason.
The school also honored Buscaglia before the game. The veteran coach will retire after 13 years at the helm at the end of this season. Stamolamprou said knowing it’s Buscaglia’s last go-round has energized the players.
“For sure, that’s an extra motivation,” Stamolamprou said. “We want him to do well. We all want to do well as a team, and let him play, like, three more games instead of, like, one.
“He can coach, actually, and let us play.”
Megan Ryan: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1722 and Twitter @theothermegryan.
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