RMU women look to make final step to Big Dance
College Football Videos
There aren't many secrets between the St. Francis (Pa.) and Robert Morris women entering the Northeast Conference Tournament final at 3 p.m. Sunday at Sewall Center.
The top-seeded Colonials (20-11) know all about third-seeded St. Francis' preference to press from start to finish, keep their possessions quick and shoot the ball a lot. The Red Flash (15-16) know how crucial it is to keep the ball out of RMU senior forward Artemis Spanou's hands as much as possible while still being aware she isn't the only Colonials player who can score.
“It's really going to be tough for both of us,” RMU coach Sal Buscaglia said. “We have certain things we do. They have certain things they do. It's who will make shots, who will rebound the ball and make good decisions, not let the moment get the best of them and just focus in on what you can do and play your game.”
Robert Morris is in the NEC title game for the first time since 2008 when it defeated Long Island to reach the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row. The Colonials have faced St. Francis (Pa.) four times in the postseason since Buscaglia became coach in 2003-04 and lost in the finals (2005), the quarterfinals (2009) and the semifinals (2010). They most recently beat the Red Flash in the 2012 NEC quarterfinals.
The Colonials head into Sunday's game with an advantage at home. They are 15-4 at Sewall Center and have won a program-record 12 straight at home. Their last home loss was to Colgate on Dec. 14.
St. Francis, of course, doesn't have far to travel from Loretto. Still, Buscaglia believes they have a significant home-court advantage.
“I think it's probably good for them since they're so close that more people will come, but it's still our court, our locker room,” Buscaglia said.
Robert Morris, the NEC regular-season champs, made it this far by coming back from a first-half deficit to dominate No. 8 LIU Brooklyn in the second half of the quarterfinal game, then maintained a lead during most of a close semifinal against No. 4 Bryant on Wednesday.
St. Francis outlasted No. 6 Sacred Heart, 132-124, in double overtime, then led for all but 21 seconds at No. 2 Mount St. Mary's to win 68-63.
“The games were so different,” St. Francis second-year coach Joe Haigh said. “Both teams struggled to make shots (against Mount St. Mary's). After scoring all those points, it was different to be in a low-scoring game and a physical (postseason) game. It was a lot slower than we normally like.”
What Robert Morris likes is to give the ball to two-time NEC Player of the Year Spanou as much as it can. The record-setting senior, who could be playing in her final home game, recorded her 85th career double-double in the conference semifinal.
“This team doesn't mind giving Artie the ball,” Buscaglia said. “They just want to win, and if we go through Artie, we go through Artie, and that's what we've done. That's what I call a team. No matter what happens on Sunday, the journey has been awesome.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins president: General manager, coach won’t be fired
- Rossi: Crosby, Malkin didn’t sign on for this
- Penguins’ Malkin: ‘We’re not a championship team’
- Uniontown Lady Red Raiders softball players playing with heart
- Blairsville woman freezes fluid moments for creative shots
- Review: Andrew Gross delivers with suspense-filled ‘One Mile Under’
- Hempfield man dies in single-vehicle accident
- Review: John Szwed’s new biography sheds light on the mystique of Billie Holiday
- STEM lesson opens doors for students
- Geibel grad dreams big, lands role in second feature film
- Tournament win has given Butler volleyball team confidence