Ravens Come Out of the Gate On Fire, Owls Cool FPU With 72-62 Win

Izzy Lipinski (Photo Courtesy of Dan Forget Photography)
Izzy Lipinski (Photo Courtesy of Dan Forget Photography)

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

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (January 23, 2019) – After a win on Saturday at the College of Saint Rose, the Franklin Pierce University women's basketball team held an early 7-0 lead until Northeast-10 Conference opponent Southern Connecticut State University took the lead and did not look back in a 72-62 victory Wednesday evening at the James Moore Field House. With the win, the Owls move to 12-7, 6-5 NE10 and the setback sends the Ravens to 3-13, 1-10 NE10.

Raven sophomore guard Sophia Holmes (Oakland, Maine) paced Pierce with 18 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals and shot a perfect 8-of-8 at the charity stripe. It was Holmes' ninth straight contest in double figures.

Lisa Sulejmani (Burlington, Vt.) poured in a career-best matching 17 markers and came down with a personal-high nine rebounds. Classmate Izzy Lipinski (Farmington, Conn.) tallied her fourth double-double of the year with 13 points, 10 rebounds – three offensive, two steals, and one block.

For the Owls, Kiana Steinauer scored a game-high 27 points and gobbled up a game-best 18 rebounds with seven coming on the offensive end. 11 of Steinauer's points came at the free throw line. Imani Wheeler tacked on 22 points of her own with four helpers.

Sulejmani tacked on the opening seven markers of the game. Holmes kept a missed Hannah Everidge (Baldwinville, Mass.) floater alive and kicked the ball to Sulejmani just inside the three-point arc for the first points. The freshman guard then slashed through traffic for a fast-break layup. On the next Raven possession, good ball movement found Sulejmani on the left wing beyond the arc to expand the Pierce edge to 7-0 at the 8:33 mark. Steinauer broke a 0-for-4 start for the Owls with a driving hoop and harm making it a 7-3 battle. Steinauer then split freebies to make it a one-possession game 7-4. Everidge responded connecting on a trifecta at the top of the point to up the margin, 10-4.

Steinauer continued her fast start picking off the rock from Holmes and dishing the ball to Aaliyah Walker uncontested for two dropping their deficit to 10-8. Amanda Pfohl deadlocked the score 10-10 when she lofted a floater towards the rack that banged up and down through the twine. Wheeler capped off the SCSU 8-0 binge by going around the screen and dropping home a layup to give the hosts their first advantage 12-10 with 2:52 left in the quarter.

Two Holmes free throws tied the game 12-12 until a Wheeler three-ball moved the Owls in front 15-12. Amanda Pfohl moved SCSU ahead by four, 17-13 via a layup, their largest lead to that point in the quarter. Both squads swapped points until the hosts led 19-17 after one.

The Ravens began fast in the second quarter tallying four points to recapture the advantage 21-19 on the strength of a sophomore forward Freya Cooney (Woodbridge, England) driving take and two Holmes free throws. Two Cooney charity stripe conversions gave the Ravens a 27-22 lead midway through the second. Eventually, the Owls tied the battle 29-29 after an Allie Smith three and an Erin Ryder block which led to a Steinauer jumper. A Wheeler deuce concluded a 9-0 Owl scoring spurt to put them in the driver's seat 33-29. FPU came back to tie the duel 33-33 on two Ryle Skinner (Leominster, Mass.) free throws. A Wheeler and1 ended the first half scoring as Southern Conn. held a 36-33 halftime lead.

FPU was held scoreless through the opening three minutes until Lipinski dumped home a layup to make it a 38-35 contest. Following a Walker jumper, another Lipinski post score made the deficit one possession, 40-37. After the Lipinski layup, the Owls manufactured 10 straight markers starting with a Pfohl three-pointer, buckets by Steinauer, Walker and capped off with a Wheeler long-range three to open up a 13 point, 50-37 edge. Trailing, 54-41. The Ravens came back with eight consecutive markers of their own. Lipinski began the binge sinking two free throws. She then corralled an offensive board and put the second chance in for two. Sulejmani produced four points of her own all at the line to bring the Ravens within two possessions 54-49 after three quarters.

A Holmes steal and left side lay-in kept the Raven deficit at five, 56-51. SCSU notched five straight points including a Wheeler old-fashioned three-point play to reestablish the double-digit Owl lead, 61-51.

Holmes brought the Ravens within four 61-57 when Everidge dished off the rock to her teammate on the left wing. She used a pump fake to draw her defender in the air then she drained the long shot at the 5:22 mark. On the ensuing Owl possession Steinauer gobbled up two offensive boards, one off her missed three, one after her missed layup then she converted her third chance to grow her teams' lead to six, 63-57. Pfohl increased the Owls edge with another three-ball giving the hosts a 66-57 advantage.  

A Sulejmani layup and a Holmes trey brought the score to 67-62 with 44 ticks left on the clock. Steinauer went to the stripe and split her attempts keeping Pierce in the contest. Lipinski missed her layup chance and corralled the ball keeping possession to the Ravens. FPU could not convert their last jumper as they left New Haven with a loss.

The Ravens remain away from campus this coming Saturday when they take on conference opponent Adelphi University at 1:30 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/).