St. Francis Brooklyn disappointed but optimistic after tough loss

Teaneck, NJ -In the aftermath of a tough loss Linda Cimino had mixed emotions of disappointment and satisfaction. Her St. Francis Brooklyn just came out on the short end of a 55-51 decision at Fairleigh Dickinson on Thursday.

"They (FDU) hit some big shots in the stretch and (Rachel) Niles hurt us," Cimino said following the game at the Rothman Center. "Niles, FDU’s senior guard, scored a game high 20 points, hitting four from long range. The 5’3" Niles even pulled down 6 rebounds.

St. Francis enjoyed a double digit second period lead before FDU closed strong cutting the deficit to one at intermission.

The visiting Terriers took a three point lead into the final period. Over those last ten minutes St. Francis scored just seven points. It was a grind it out 64 possession contest where every possession loomed as crucial. The reason behind the result was easy to figure. "In the end they made the plays, they capitalized," Cimino lamented, "we didn’t."

On the night, Ally Lassen and Nevena Dimitrivec shared scoring honors for the Terriers with 11 each. Dimitrijevic also handed out a game high eight assists. Dimitrijevic was the NEC Rookie of the Year two seasons ago. While the 5’3" junior guard hails from Serbia, she epitomizes the ‘Brooklyn Tough’ slogan with her aggressive take charge play. "She (Dimitrijevic) had two ACL’s," Cimino said,"now she’s fully recovered and back to game speed.

The loss dropped the Terriers to 7-4 in Northeast Conference play, FDU improved to 10-1 and leads the NEC with St. Francis second. The overall record reads 11-8 for the Terriers. "We are having a great year," Cimino gushed. "I am very pleased with our progress. We intentionally played a tough non conference schedule to get ready for conference play. It’s paid off." Among the highlights was an upset of Michigan State in late November. A trip to Michigan, also in November, resulted in an 82-46 loss to the powerful Wolverines. The bright spots- Cimino was on the sidelines against her college(Adelphi) coach Kim Barnes Arico and "they outscored us by only three points the second half," per Cimino.

The Terriers have now lost both games to FDU. The first meeting saw the Knights take a 72-62 decision in Brooklyn on January 21. Both meetings were close and hotly contested. The two teams could meet again down the road-possibly to decide who reigns supreme in the NEC tournament. That would suit the St. Francis coach just fine "We hope and look forward to seeing them (FDU) again," Cimino said.

* Cimino employs a unique coaching approach. After the game she does not meet with her team. "Right after a victory there is not much to say," the coach pointed out. "After a loss there is a chance the wrong thing might be said given the emotions (of a loss). After the game the team wants to shower up and meet with family. The next day before practice we will meet as a team and break down the game."