Assumption Stages Second Half Comeback, Beat Ravens 63-59

Lisa Sulejmani (Photo Courtesy of Luke Tracy)
Lisa Sulejmani (Photo Courtesy of Luke Tracy)

This Franklin Pierce University women's basketball recap is presented by Belletetes

RINDGE, N.H. (December 18, 2018) – Franklin Pierce University women's basketball freshman guard Lisa Sulejmani (Burlington, Vt.) recorded her third straight game in double-digit points as the Ravens lost a heartbreaking Northeast-10 Conference contest to Assumption College 63-59 Tuesday evening in The Fieldhouse. The loss keeps the Ravens winless in league play and the Greyhounds improve to 8-3, 5-2 NE10 with the victory.

Sulejmani tallied a game-high 17 points establishing a new personal-best bettering the 16 markers she put up over the weekend at Southern New Hampshire University. The newcomer dished out a career-high six assists in the narrow defeat coming up with two steals and two offensive boards. She shot 6-of-13 (46.1%) from the floor and 2-of-3 (66.7%) from deep.

Sophomore forward Claudia Tucci (Trumbull, Conn.) got a heavy taste of action with a team-high 21 minutes off the bench. She scored 11 points with seven of those 11 markers coming at the charity stripe. She also grabbed four caroms. Classmate Sophia Holmes (Oakland, Maine) dropped in 10 points and freshman Izzy Lipinski (Farmington, Conn.) stuffed the stat sheet with six points, a personal-best six assists, five rebounds, and a career-high four steals.

FPU led by as many as eight points in the second quarter and held the lead for 25:32 compared to 8:39 for the Greyhounds. The Ravens struggled to put the rock into the net in the fourth quarter shooting 18.2% (2-of-11) their poorest shooting quarter of the game. Six of their 10 fourth-quarter points happened via free throws.

However, the Ravens set a new season-low in turnovers with eight. They were careful with the ball as their press and ferocious defense forced Assumption into 22 miscues, their second-highest turnover total of the season. The Crimson and Grey manufactured 19 points off the 22 Greyhound mistakes.

Three double-digit scorers paved the way for Assumption. Senior forward Morgan O'Donnell shrugged off early foul trouble and racked up 16 points in 21 minutes of play. Teammate Brianna Capacchione poured in a 14 point, 11 rebound double-double effort.

Raven sophomore guard Hannah Everidge (Baldwinville, Mass.) got her team on the scoreboard first corralling a skip pass crosscourt by Holmes for the wide open catch and shoot trifecta. Lipinski built the Raven edge to a quarter-high six points halfway through the opening period by swishing home a right elbow jumper. An 8-2 mini Assumption spurt deadlocked the game 12-12 when Temi Falayi dumped in a fast break layup. Holmes regained the slim advantage towards the host side slashing through the left lane and kissing a lay-in off the glass. Trailing 16-14, Sulejmani found Lipinski to tie the score 16-16 at the end of the first.

Sulejmani started to attack in the second quarter scoring eight of her 17 markers in the stanza. The freshman gave her squad a three-point lead just nine seconds in pulling up on the left wing for the long-range connection. Four straight markers by Assumption moved them in front 20-19 until Sulejmani struck again this time receiving a post pass from Lipinski to the right corner for the pop and shot trey reestablishing a 22-20 Raven edge. With the Pierce advantage hovering around two, Everidge pickpocketed Abby McKanna and scooped an attempt left side into the rack pushing FPU's lead to four, 28-24. Everidge's steal kickstarted an 8-2 Raven mini-run that combined a hoop and harm from freshman guard Rylee Skinner (Leominster, Mass.) and three free throw conversions which gave the Crimson and Grey their largest advantage of the game, 34-26. Assumption produced two layups to conclude the half making the margin 34-30 at the intermission.

Assumption began the second half notching four straight points to knot the showdown. The Ravens regained the lead 43-36 via seven consecutive markers capped off by an Everidge transition deadeye connection. The Greyhounds slowly chipped away at their deficit coming within two, 43-41 off a Falayi and1. Ahead, 49-43 with 17 seconds left, Assumption looked for a last-second three-ball that was knocked in by Meghan Cramb to bring the match to a 49-46 score after three quarters.

Both teams traded possessions and points down to the wire, trailing by three, 58-55 with 3:11 to go, the Ravens took a one point, 59-58 lead via two Tucci free throws and a Lipinski theft off a designed Assumption pick and roll which resulted in two more charity stripe conversions off the shot of Sulejmani. O'Donnell answered on her next trip down the court with a one-handed scoop off the window putting the Greyhounds up 60-59.

FPU stopped play with a timeout and the ball found Lipinski who was fouled. She headed to the line and missed both free attempts with 1:15 left in the ballgame. Sulejmani made a clutch steal seconds later off an Assumption inbounds play setting up the Ravens with another opportunity to take the lead. Pierce used another timeout and drew up a play for Lipinski in the post. Lipinski's layup attempt was swatted aside by Jordan Hawkins and the loose ball was gobbled up by Capacchione. Capacchione was fouled and split her attempts leaving the Ravens with one more chance to either send the game to overtime or win outright. With eight seconds left, Holmes drove left and her runner clanged off the left side of the hoop and corralled by Assumption. Capacchione reached the line again and knocked down both freebies to ice the game.

The Ravens return to the court on Wednesday, January 2, 2019, at Post University with tip-off slated for 5:30 p.m.

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