Holmes Drops 24, Huge First Quarter Guide Ravens to First League Victory

Sophia Holmes (Photo Courtesy of Dan Forget Photography)
Sophia Holmes (Photo Courtesy of Dan Forget Photography)

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

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 19, 2019) – Franklin Pierce University women's basketball sophomore guard Sophia Holmes (Oakland, Maine) scored a career and game-high 24 points as the Ravens used a 27-point first quarter to help defeat Northeast-10 Conference opponent the College of Saint Rose 78-74 Saturday afternoon at the Daniel P. Nolan Gymnasium. The win snapped a five-game losing streak for the Ravens and gave them their first conference win of the campaign while the Golden Knights slide to 10-7, 3-7 NE10.

Holmes notched her second 20+ point game of the 2018-19 season bettering her previous career-best of 21 markers set on January 2nd at Post. She now has eight consecutive double-digit scoring games. The sophomore drained 7-of-14 (50%) from the hardwood and was a perfect 8-of-8 (100%) at the line. She also snagged four boards, dished out two assists and came up with two steals. Nine of her 24 markers came in the fourth quarter. Holmes did not miss a shot attempt from the field or from the stripe over the course of the final 10 minutes.

Two other Ravens joined Holmes in double figures. Classmates Lisa Sulejmani (Burlington, Vt.) and Izzy Lipinski (Farmington, Conn.) tallied 15 and 14 points respectively. Sulejmani handed out a game-high five assists, snared two rebounds and added one steal. Lipinski chipped in six caroms, four assists, two steals, and one block. Teammate Freya Cooney (Woodbridge, England) stuffed the stat sheet with six points, nine rebounds, four blocks, two assists and one steal across 19 minutes of playing time.

For the hosts, guard Ashley Vanderwall totaled 20 points doing most of her damage at the line 9-of-10 (90%). She struggled with her deep range shot going only 1-of-10 (10%). Leah Dollard was productive off the pine with 16 markers.

The Ravens led for the majority of the contest as the Golden Knights had only one lead in the contest 3-2 at the 8:03 mark in the opening quarter.

A Vanderwall lay-in gave the hosts a 3-2 edge in the early going. Pierce responded going on a 14-0 scoring binge with key contributions from freshman guard Rylee Skinner (Leominster, Mass.) who converted an and1 and Holmes dropped home a floater to push the Ravens ahead by double-digits 16-3. Saint Rose quickly cut their deficit to eight on the strength of a three-ball and a Nina Fedullo open layup under the rack.

Following a Raven timeout, sophomore guard Demi Akins (Cambridge, Mass.) drained a long bucket at the top of the point. The teams traded possessions across the final three minutes of the quarter until Sulejmani dished off a pass to classmate Paris Wilkey (Lynn, Mass.) on the right wing and the freshman knocked down a buzzer-beating trifecta to move the Ravens ahead 27-14 at the end of the first.

Sulejmani started the second off the second quarter with a fast break hoop and harm following a Lipinski steal to up the Ravens advantage to 16, 30-14 just 52 seconds into the period. Sulejmani struck again with 6:39 left before the intermission stepping back to the left side for a long-range connection to move the FPU lead to 38-20. An 8-2 Saint Rose mini-binge brought the score to 42-30 in favor of the Ravens. Holmes regained momentum towards her teams side via a slashing right block and1 with the free throw to move the Crimson and Grey ahead 15, 45-30 with 2:16 left. A post feed off the hands of Becca Townes to a cutting Karissa Birthwright brought the Golden Knight deficit to 11, 45-34 at the end of the half.

The Ravens began the third on an 11-2 run capped off by another hoop and harm, this time from Holmes to 20, 56-36. The Golden Knights responded with a 12-3 binge of their own to make it a 10-point contest. Following a Fedullo second-chance layup conversion. Saint Rose and the Ravens split free throws as the Ravens held a 10-point 58-48 advantage at the conclusion of the third quarter.

A Lipinski jumper a couple of seconds into the fourth expanded the FPU margin to 12, 60-48. Saint Rose promptly made it a two-possession game, 60-55 following a Vanderwall trey. After a Ravens timeout, Isa Vara de Rey poked the ball away from a Raven player which resulted in a Dollard turnaround jumper in the paint assisted by de Rey to bring it to a three-point 60-57 game. Sulejmani tallied a layup and a 15-foot jumper coupled with a Holmes take to the rack giving the Ravens the multiple possession 66-59 advantage with under five minutes to play. Holmes stretched Pierce's margin to 10, 69-59 with a dagger three-ball capping off a 9-2 mini-spurt.

Saint Rose made it a game late when Vanderwall was fouled by Sulejmani while attempting a three-pointer. Vanderwall drilled all three freebies to bring the score to 72-69. Sulejmani atoned for her foul when she knocked down both of her charity stripe attempts expanding the Raven lead to 74-69. With nine ticks left, Vanderwall was hacked again while taking a three-pointer this time by sophomore guard Hannah Everidge (Baldwinville, Mass.). She dropped in all three attempts cutting the deficit to two, 74-72. Vanderwall fouled Everidge and she sank both free throws increasing the FPU advantage to 76-72.

Saint Rose took a timeout and drew up a quick layup for Fedullo which she converted. Sophomore forward Claudia Tucci (Trumbull, Conn.) inbounded the ball while the Golden Knights pressed and threw the ball away to Cameron Graupman. Graupman promptly gave the rock back to the Ravens when Holmes snared her post pass attempt with one second left. Holmes was fouled, went to the stripe and iced the game.

The Ravens will look to make it two straight wins when they travel to Southern Connecticut State on Wednesday with tip-off slated for 5:30 p.m.

For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (http://www.fpuravens.com). Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics' official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens ), its YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/franklinpiercesports) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/FPUathletics). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce women's basketball apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (http://www.fpuravens.com/store). You can also follow the women's basketball team on Twitter (https://twitter.com/FPURavensWBB) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/franklin_pierce_wbb/).