OPINION: Momentum leading women’s basketball to another NEC title


Photo credit: Samuel Anthony

David Szymanski

The UConn Women’s Basketball Team won their 100th straight game on Monday night. The 70th win came against Robert Morris University during the first round of the NCAA Tournament last season.

While, unfortunately, on the wrong side of UConn’s streak, the Colonials are now on a streak of their own. Eight consecutive wins have shot the team atop the NEC rankings. With only four games left in the regular season, it is time to look at what this team can accomplish.

The ultimate goal for the team is to win the NEC Tournament for the second consecutive year in a row. This victory would give the Colonials an automatic bid into the tournament, and a chance to play against the best teams in the country; however, there will be obstacles and teams RMU will have to overcome in their pursuit.

The Colonials average the largest home crowd size in the NEC. Securing the top seed for the NEC tournament is critical as it provides homecourt advantage.

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Photo credit: Michael Evans

As the team takes on Sacred Heart on February 25th, Robert Morris is faced with their biggest challenge on their way to the championship. If the team is able to beat Sacred Heart, they are almost assured the top seed.

The last time these two teams met, Sacred Heart won 69-59; shooting an astounding 65% from the field in the second half. This was the first game of NEC play, and the Colonials have shown massive growth as a team since.

They now lead in scoring defense and hold opponents to the lowest field goal percentage in the NEC. If they expect to beat Sacred Heart in a few weeks, they’ll have to perform their best defensively.

Coach Buscaglia has shown this season he knows how to prepare his team for rematches. As a head coach, he has yet to lose the second time seeing a team. Expect the Robert Morris to go into the game next Saturday ready to clinch the first seed in the NEC Tournament.

While Sacred Heart is a tough matchup for the team, Saint Francis will prove even tougher. The Colonials went 1-1 against Saint Francis during conference play, and the games were a great preview of what we can expect if they meet again in the tournament.

Saint Francis averages 76.7 points per contest compared to the next best in the NEC, Robert Morris, at 62.9. Not only is SFU an offensive juggernaut, but they are best at what RMU is worst at.

Robert Morris sits at the lowest rate in the NEC in defending perimeter shooting, while Saint Francis relies heavily on the three-point shot. To win, the Colonials will have to play like they did in the most recent contest.

The difference between the first and second match-up between the teams emphasized the three from RMU.

They took 22% more shots from beyond the arc and ultimately made an additional five. This is the type of adjustment that coach Buscaglia has shown he is capable of making from game to game.

If these teams do meet again come tournament time, anticipate the Colonials relying on the three point shot and dedicating more energy to defending the perimeter line.

Robert Morris Women’s Basketball has already had a great first season under their new head coach. Expect this success to continue through the NEC tourney. This team has begun an impressive winning streak, let’s look forward to even more wins to come.