NJIT 61 FDU 46: Recap and Notes

Teaneck, NJ - Wednesday evening saw a meeting of two New Jersey schools approximately 20 miles apart and in different conferences. NJIT of America East defeated Northeast Conference representative host FDU 61-46 at the Rothman Center. NJIT is now 5-3 while FDU fell to 1-6.

First period: Highlanders came out ‘winning’ the first four minutes by an 8-5 count. The lead stretched to seven before the host Knights regrouped with an 8-2 run to close the period.

NJIT 16 FDU 15

Second period: NJIT maintained a lead. Teneisia Brown was effective inside for the Knights. A 33% shooting period, including 0 for four from the charity stripe could not compensate for Brown’s work. Abby Conklin canned a three pointer at the buzzer to give FDU some momentum heading into the half. NJIT 29 NJIT 25

Third period: NJIT scored the first five points to regain the momentum and increase their lead to nine. Defensively the Knights were getting exploited inside off the bounce. The NJIT lead grew to 11 as FDU called time out with six and a half minutes remaining. To mirror the defensive problems FDU struggled to find the mark on offense. For the period, the Knights scored 12 points. NJIT 51 FDU 37

Fourth period: FDU was getting stops early .Unfortunately for Burgundy and Blue faithful, they were not able to take advantage. A number of possessions came up empty. Once again, the dreaded turnovers. The difficulty in scoring also hurt the defensive effort. FDU could not utilize any full court pressure because limited scoring meant less opportunities to set up the press. NJIT stayed in control with a 15 point lead. Highlanders did a good job of using clock the latter minutes without going totally conservative on the offensive end.

NJIT 61 FDU 46

Turnovers. NJIT coach Mike Lane admitted a good portion of the contest was "ragged." NJIT committed 20 turnovers for a 29% turnover rate. FDU was guilty of 21 miscues, a woefully high 31% rate. "We had a number of unforced turnovers," FDU coach Stephanie Gaitley lamented. "We had careless turnovers and not turning the ball over is something we emphasize in practice."

Shooting. Hitting your shots can make up for a multitude of sins, like turnovers. NJIT shot 46% from the floor and 16 of 18 (89%) from the line. FDU struggled with a 28% mark.

Positives for FDU. When asked about the positives from this game, Gaitley lightheartedly said, "it’s over." One plus was the play of Brown with a team high 17 points and 11 rebounds. "She left it out there," Gaitley said of the 6’2" forward. Gaitley did add that Brown needs to be on the blocks virtually every time. Not on the perimeter where she is prone to turnovers.

Strong effort. Lane was pleased with his group putting in," a consistent 40 minute effort." Except for the start of the fourth period Lane felt his team was in control. "In practice we talked about our motion offense ," the coach said. "We had only been using one side we had to work on using a second and third side which we did tonight….We also limited them to five three pointers with one coming in the last thirty seconds."

Individually. Alejandra Zuniga led all scorers with 21 points. A 5’6" sophomore guard from Spain, Zuniga is excellent on getting in the lane. "She played up a level in Spain," Lane said. "So she was a 16 year old facing 20 year old women. She just sees the court differently and has a unique feel for the game."

Lane also singled out graduate guard Kenna Squier, a 15 point scorer with seven steals. "She (Squier) did a great job of attacking and getting in the paint," Lane praised.

The process. Lane praised FDU saying, "Steph is in a rebuild, they are young, but we knew they would be gritty and be tough on the boards. They out rebounded us 18-7 on the offensive boards and that (rebounding) was a concern coming in."

For FDU, "it’s a journey," Gaitley said. "We have so much work to do. We have to make sure there is a day to day carry over of what they are learning." Limiting turnovers is one lesson. Gaitley admitted the absence of a true experienced point guard hurts. "Staci (Williams) is playing the point but she’s a freshman and still learning."

Wrapup. In a 68 possession game, NJIT held a 90-69 edge in offensive efficiency. Knights held a definitive 41-27 advantage in offensive rebounding percentage. Among players with ten or more minutes, FDU had three with a usage rate (percentage of team possessions used) over 20%. NJIT showed more balance with five. Brown of FDU had the game’s highest usage rate at 37%.

FDU actually led 20-15 in points off turnovers. NJIT countered with a 28-16 advantage in points in the paint.

FDU hosts American on Saturday. NJIT travels to ACC power Miami on Sunday. "We played in the ASUN when I got to NJIT," Lane said. "We had a few conference games like Stetson and Jacksonville in Florida each year. I promised this group a trip to Florida and this will be a good experience and test." Plus warmer weather than New Jersey.

NEC Supervisor of Officials Jon Levinson was on hand evaluating the crew.

Game was televised on SNY.