Fairleigh Dickinson Women’s Basketball extends winning streak to six games

The Fairleigh Dickinson Women's Basketball Team (13-4, 5-0 Northeast Conference) rolled past the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers (4-13, 3-2 NEC) 70-39 at the Rothman Center's Stratis Arena in Hackensack, New Jersey.

A Senior forward who plays for the FDU Knights, Sierra DeAngelo tallied a game-high 16 points, while fellow Knight and junior guard, Abby Conklin scored 15 points off the bench and a perfect five for five from behind-the-arc. After the game, DeAngelo reflected on her performance. "Because of my size, I can post up the smaller defenders, and I've been working on my shooting from the outside. I feel that helps me from both inside and outside."

"The assists from Chloe Wilson and rest of my teammates. I feel we do a really good job as a team for fighting for each other and passing up that good shot for the great shot," D'Angelo said. "Whoever's hot that day we keep feeding them the ball. We try to work better as a team than individually and one-on-one and that's why we're succeeding so much right now and moving the ball around and just finding the open person."

Fairleigh Dickinson jumped out to a 14-2 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Knights stifling full-court press defense forced St. Francis Brooklyn to commit eight turnovers, leading to a 9-0 advantage in points off turnovers.

"We always talk about how we want to come out and focus from the jump and set the tone and the past couple of games we have been able to do that," Sierra DeAngelo explained. "It helps the getting those players that really don't see the court as much get the time and it's going to help us in the long run in the conference and we're in the playoffs. They already have those experiences and minutes of what it's like to be in a game and situations."

In the second quarter, Fairleigh Dickinson erupted for an 8-0 run, which stretched their advantage. The Knights locked down on defense, holding the Terriers pointless for 13 minutes. However, St. Francis broke the drought with 6:11 left on a triple from Alyssa Fisher.

By halftime, Fairleigh Dickinson had a commanding 38-9 lead, and the Knights pitched a shutout in points off turnovers at 11-0, as well as having an edge in points in the paint 12-6 and 19 bench points. Fairleigh Dickinson shot a sizzling 69 percent from the field.

"Every day in practice, we're shooting, and I feel that comes out during the games. It's great we just don't have one player that could take over the game, and anybody on a given day can score if someone else is having a bad game, and we have so many threats on the team."

"We have a good balance of working the ball inside and outside and what gets our shooters open on the outside and we feed the post or look for slashers and do a great job of finding each other all the time. A big thing about our team is we always talk about it at halftime and after each game is always to be ready when your name is called and know your role."

Once the second half got underway, the Knights kept their feet on the gas pedal and shot 50 percent from the field to expand the margin to 60-28 at the end of the third quarter. The Knights were scorching hot from long range, burying six treys. DeAngelo was the main source of offense for Fairleigh Dickinson, notching 11 points.

Even with a low-scoring fourth quarter, Fairleigh Dickinson won by a sizable margin as they won their sixth game in a row. Altogether the bench pumped in 35 points. The Knights distributed the ball effectively with 19 assists.

Sierra DeAngelo touched on her team's undefeated record in the NEC and what playing for Head Coach Angelika Szumilo has been like this year.

"It's a great feeling we're undefeated in the conference, but we always talk about how can't sleep on anybody and treat everyone like the record, is 0-0. We come in focused and ready, and we're so close on and off the court and each other's biggest fans. With every win, we're gaining that confidence daily and improving ourselves in the long run.

"Coach Szumilo came in with me my freshman year and I feel like since she's turned the program around 180 degrees. She really does get on us but that's what makes her a great coach [is that she] won't accept mediocrity. She demands the best out if us and just going hard every day in practice and we see that translates into games. She harps on us because she demands greatness and whenever we do that in practice shows in the games. She's good with giving you confidence and even if you're not shooting well, she wants you to keep shooting. We really focus on defense that sparks our offense and she emphasizes that the most."

Fairleigh Dickinson hits the road for the next two games, starting with a tough test on Saturday, January 21st, against Sacred Heart in Fairfield, Connecticut, with tip-off set for 2 p.m. The Pioneers have a 7-10 overall record but are 4-1 in the NEC.

"They're a great team. We have one day to prepare for them, but we're ready for them," DeAngelo noted. "We're focusing on what they're good at and preparing for that. We must come focused from the start as every other game, set the tone mostly on the defensive end, and know it will be a back-and-forth game. This conference is great, and anybody can beat anyone on a given day and nobody you can really sleep on and take a team easy. Every team can score and get stops and depends on who's shooting well. Every game is competitive, and you must come in focused and if not could be a bad day for your team."

In addition, the Senior Knight discussed the winning records that both Fairleigh Dickinson Women's and Men's Basketball Team have this season.

"It's been great because both us and the men's team are undefeated in the conference. We're big supporters of each other and all friends and try to come out to every game. Students are starting to come back onto campus this week, and we'll have the fans because, during the winter session, nobody was here." Whenever we had fans in the gym, that helped with our momentum and energy in general, and excited for them to come back."