The Mount St. Mary’s women’s basketball team lost two, heart-wrenching games to Farleigh Dickinson and LIU Brooklyn this past week. The Lady Mountaineers led the Knights of FDU in the closing minutes on Saturday, only to fall on a last second putback at the buzzer.
Junior center Sarafina Arthur-Williams led the Mount with 17 points, while senior guard Jenn Carney chipped in 10 points alongside 11 points from freshman forward Stacey Koutris. A back and forth first half saw the Mount grab an early lead thanks to strong play inside from Arthur-Williams.
The Mount led 7-2 at the 15:57 mark of the first half, but FDU stormed back on four three point jump-shots to take a 16-9 lead at the 12:09 mark. In response, Carney knocked down a mid-range jumper and freshman forward Jessica Harris sank a three pointer to pull the Mount back within four at the 7:49 mark.
Both teams remained within a point of one another until the 4:00 mark. A 5-0 run by the Knights gave FDU its largest lead of the game (six) just before halftime. The Lady Mountaineers clawed their way back once again, courtesy of Kourtris, who converted two, mid-range jump shots in the waning moments of the half. FDU led 27-23 at the break.
Both teams fought to gain the upper hand as the second half got underway with FDU in the lead. At the 16:00 mark, FDU led 31-27 following a pair of Mount turnovers on offense. Undeterred, the Lady Mountaineers continued to pound the ball inside to Arthur-Williams.
The junior center managed to convert at the rim on back-to-back possessions, which tied the game with 13:05 to play. Following an FDU foul, senior guard Jackie Brewer went two of two from the line to give the Mount their first lead of the second half.
The Lady Mountaineers continued to build on this lead as Koutris and Arthur-Williams combined for seven points to push the Mount’s lead to 40-33 with 9:38 to play. Brewer then scored on a fast-break as she was fouled, which extended the lead to 43-34.
FDU responded with a 6-0 run of their own to close the gap to three points. With 6:40 to play, it seemed that this game would go down to the wire. Following a pair of free throws by the Knights, Carney hit a much-needed three pointer to put the Mount back up by four.
Once again, FDU provided a response as the Knights crashed the offensive boards to extend two possessions. They regained the lead with 3:06 to play, only to have it stripped away by an Arthur-Williams layup at the other end.
With 1:00 to play, the Knights led by a score of 52-50. Frantic play at either end resulted in no points for either team until Brewer was fouled was 15 seconds to go. She stepped to the line and calmly made both foul shots to tie the game. This set the stage for quite a finish.
FDU could hold the ball for the last shot or play for overtime with so little time left on the clock. With less than seven seconds to play, point guard Amanda Andrades drove to the rim and missed. However, the rebound was collected by Ericka Livermore who tipped the ball into the net as the horn sounded to give FDU the win.
Arthur-Williams said after the game, “A missed box out seemed to have cost us the game, but it wasn’t just that, any one possession could have led to that”. Tight games have been featured throughout the year for the Mount, yet Koutris noted that, “We need to play consistent the entire game. We have had a lot of tight losses so we need to finish strong and keep fighting for a full 40 minutes”.
The Lady Mountaineers looked to bounce back on Monday as they faced LIU Brooklyn in their fourth game of a five game home stand.
In the opening minutes of the first half on Monday night, the Lady Mountaineers looked poised to end their losing skid. A 15-4 run to start game was powered by nine points from Brewer, who went four of five from the field. Four LIU turnovers helped the Mount turn good defense into much needed offense.
At the 8:35 mark, sophomore guard Kathleen Belanger-Finn came off the bench and hit a huge three-point jumper to push the Mount’s lead to 18-7. Just like the game against FDU, the Blackbirds somehow managed to fight their way back.
A 7-0 run by LIU late in the first half cut the Mount’s lead to 18-15. Brewer and Carney combined for seven points over the final 5:05 of the first half to keep the Mount in front. Carney notched two free throws with 1:49 to play and Brewer scored on a drive to the hoop at the 1:17 mark. At the half, the Mount led 25-19.
Nine Mountaineer turnovers allowed the Blackbirds to stay close in the first half. However, as a credit to their excellent defense, the Lady Mountaineers disrupted the LIU offense by forcing eight three point attempts and allowing only 3 fast break points.
LIU hit the ground running as the second half got underway with a 6-0 run to tie the game. The Mount turned the ball over four times in the opening minutes of the half, which led to five points for the Blackbirds.
LIU converted five of their first eight shots of the second half to regain the lead with 16:50 to play. Three more buckets by LIU extended their lead to 34-27 with 13:01 to play, while the Mount had gone cold from the field having scored just once since the first half.
The Lady Mountaineers got back into the game at the 9:20 mark as Carney scored on a tough dribble drive to the basket. She made the ensuing free throw to cut LIU’s lead to 38-32. Two baskets by Arthur Williams brought the Mount within four as the clock reached the 7:00 mark.
Clutch foul shooting by both teams led to gritty back and forth action over the next three and half minutes. Belanger Finn sank two foul shots with 4:22 to go to cut LIU’s lead to six. Carney nailed a three pointer with 3:25 to play, which cut LIU’s lead in half.
With 2:26 to play and time winding down on the shot clock, Arthur-Williams scored again on the inside to bring the Mount back within two points. The scoreboard read 45-43 with 2:43 left on the clock. LIU would add a point at the line to make the score 46-43.
As the clock hit the one minute mark, the Mount began to press LIU in order to steal the ball. The Blackbirds then turned the ball over, giving the Mount a chance to tie the game.
Senior guard Jody Chickey made the most of the opportunity and scored her first bucket of the game on a quick drive to the rim.
LIU’s lead had been cut to one with 20 seconds to play. The Lady Mountaineers decided to press yet again to steal the ball. They nearly did with seven seconds to play before LIU called timeout amidst a scrum near the end line.
The Mount was forced to foul on the inbounds pass, which led to a key free throw that extended LIU’s lead to three with six seconds left. Brewer drove down the court with the hope of tying things up and sending the game to overtime. But her shot missed at the buzzer, and LIU emerged victorious during another close game for the Mount.
The Lady Mountaineers will host Wagner on Saturday at 4:30, which will be their final home game of the regular season.