Colonials Bounce Back; Outlast Milwaukee on Senior Day


The team celebrates the 50-45 win over Milwaukee Photo credit: Alec Miller

Kevin Plowcha

MOON TOWNSHIP— Robert Morris (11-16, 5-13 Horizon) looked to bounce back from a loss as they took on the Milwaukee Panthers (9-17, 7-11) Sunday afternoon at the UPMC Events Center. The Colonials would come out on top by a score of 50-45.

After a slow start for RMU, the Colonials would continue to grind and fight throughout the rest of the game, establishing their defensive presence early and often.

Head coach Charlie Buscaglia praised the team’s defensive effort despite stretches of little scoring.

“Milwaukee’s tough. They’re physical, they’re well-coached, and they don’t just let you get the ball in-bounds,” Buscaglia said. “Down the stretch, it came down to defense. They played well again, but we got the job done and did everything we could to bother them. Those defensive stops down the stretch were the big deal.”

Sunday marked Senior Day for the Colonials as Mackenzie Amalia was honored in the pregame ceremony. Head coach Charlie Buscaglia and sophomore guard Alejandra Mastral spoke of Amalia’s impact and what she has meant to the team over her three seasons.

Alejandra Mastral had a team-high 16 points in the 50-45 win over Milwaukee Photo credit: Alec Miller

“She is always someone that will be remembered as committed to the program at a very young age,” Buscaglia said. “She really felt connected to everything that we’re doing, and she’s grown up a lot here. She’s really taking on a leadership role, and it’s not easy. We need that leadership, and all the way up until this game, I can remember moment after moment of her taking that next step as a leader. I’m very proud of her.”

“She’s a really hard worker,” Mastral said. “All the passion that she has is amazing. Every time there’s a game where it’s tied, we’re almost there, and we need to perform and execute just like today. She’s always there cheering for everyone.”

The Colonials got a season-high 16 points out of Mastral, who spoke about her performance and the team embracing Buscaglia’s mentality.

“We were dialed in,” Mastral said. “Keep grinding and knocking on the door as Coach B says. Being consistent and constant with the work. That’s what allowed me to be there for the team the whole time. Our main focus every single time as a team is bringing effort and energy to practice and the games. We always say that’s what is going to help us grow, improve, and go forward.”

Mastral would ultimately play the hero in the final seconds, grabbing the inbound pass and draining two free throws to put the Colonials up three with less than 10 seconds left. Buscaglia highlighted how pivotal that moment was in the game.

“Getting the ball in was crucial,” Buscaglia said. “We didn’t get it in on our first look, and then Alejandra didn’t get it on her first cut, but to get those free throws, she made a great cut again and really got that ball aggressively to get that foul. Milwaukee had the possession arrow as well, so if they tie us up, it’s their ball.”

Buscaglia would go on to credit Natalie Johnson, who hit two threes in a row at the start of the fourth quarter to give the Colonials their largest lead at the time and discussed the growth of her play as well as the team.

“Her eight minutes were a big eight minutes,” Buscaglia said. “She went in and Milwaukee left her alone because they were doubling the post. She did a nice job of spacing up and being ready to line it up and knock it down. We were calling stuff cause we knew they would double-team. You go back to a month ago and look at us getting doubled. There has been so much progress passing the ball out of the post lately. That just comes from practice and work, and I just see the growth all around. Everybody came together and it was really nice to see.”

The Colonials return to action Thursday night in Indianapolis, taking on the IUPUI Jaguars.