Wagner ends SFU’s winning streak | News, Sports, Jobs

Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski Jada Dapaa of Saint Francis is sandwiched by Drayah Heyward (21) of Wagner and Emilija Krista Grava.

By John Hartsock

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LORETTO — After opening its season with 14 straight losses, the Saint Francis University women’s basketball team entered Thursday night’s Northeastern Conference game with Wagner at DeGol Arena at the Maurice Stokes Center on a five-game winning streak.

But the Red Flash’s chances of extending it to six ended soon enough.

Wagner came out firing on all cylinders and Saint Francis came out flat. Wagner built a 15-7 lead after one quarter and extended it to 40-18 at halftime before putting things on cruise control the rest of the way en route to a 63-39 win.

Snapping a four-game losing streak, Wagner (11-7 overall, 5-4 in the conference) took advantage of a balanced offense led by senior forward Kem Nwabudu with 19 points, as well as 11 from the senior striker Emilija. Krista Grava and 10 senior guard Zhneia Thybuille.

Wagner was in control offensively, defensively and on the boards, and also carried the intangible aspects of restlessness and desire, according to Saint Francis coach Keila Whittington, whose Red Flash fell 5-15, 5-4 .

“Wagner came here on a four-game losing streak, but they were hungrier tonight,” Whittington said. “They came here and immediately chased us, and we didn’t respond in the best way.

“I think it was a matter of our starting squad not bringing the energy from the start of the game to put us in a position to succeed tonight,” added Whittington.

With junior guard Drayah Heyward scoring five points in the first quarter and Grava and Thybulle scoring four apiece, Wagner took a 15-7 lead after one quarter.

Wagner put the game on ice by dominating the second quarter, 25-11, as freshman goaltender Alex Cowan scored nine points in the period, Grava added seven and Nwabudu had six.

Wagner took 17 of 32 shots on the ground in the first half, while Saint Francois only converted 7 of 24.

“They defended us very well and we had several turnovers early in the game,” said Whittington. “For us to be successful, it has to start on the defensive side of the pitch, and I don’t think that happened to us tonight.

Wagner’s coach Terrell Coburn was pleased with his team’s efforts.

“We wanted to go out and play with a lot of energy,” Coburn said. “We were on a four-game losing streak, but our team is very resilient. Our girls came out, competed and played extremely hard tonight. I’m really proud of our efforts in both halves.

Saint François did not put any player in double figures. Senior forward Jada Dapaa and junior forward Sam Miller led Saint Francis with six points apiece.

Lili Benzel, a product of Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School, a senior redshirt guard, had five points for the Red Flash, including a 3-point field goal that lifted her to 10th place on the scoring list. School all-time women’s basketball 3-pointer. with 131.

Dapaa also had six rebounds, two assists and two steals. Like Whittington, Dapaa pointed to Wagner’s energy level.

“We were flat, we should have been hungrier,” Dapaa said. “Wagner came in hungry, they worked hard and they kept fighting. That’s what gave them the “W”.

St. Francis visits Mount St. Mary’s Saturday afternoon.

“It’s back to the drawing board,” Whittington said. “We have to make sure we want it every time we step on the floor, otherwise we will continue to have results like this.

WAGNER (11-7, 5-4): Nwabudu 9-10 1-2 19, Grava 5-11 0-0 11, Cowan 3-7 3-3 9, Thybulle 4-11 2-2 10, Heyward 3- 6 1-2 8, Tokuhara 0-3 0-0 0, Loceniece 1-5 2-2 4, Jackson 0-2 0-0 0, Pitt 0-0 0-0 0, Ballinger 0-0 0-0 0 , Saylor 0-0 0-0 0, Finley 0-1 0-0 0, Sanchez-Henry 1-1 0-0 2, Brannon 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-58 9-11 63.

SAINT FRANCOIS (5-15, 5-4): Miller 3-5 0-0 6, Dapaa 2-7 0-0 4, McLemore 1-3 2-4 4, Benzel 1-12 2-2 5, Mastellone 2 -5 2-3 6, Maxwell 1-4 0-0 2, Moore 2-4 0-0 4, Lois 2-3 1-2 5, Allen 0-0 0-0 0, McConnell 1-1 0-0 3, Murphy 0-0 0-0 0, Rozier 0-1 0-2 0, Kovac 0-1 0-0 0, Novosel 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-46 7-13 39.


Wagner 15 25 13 10 — 63

Saint Francis 7 11 10 11 — 39

3-point goals: Wagner 2-8 (Grava 1, Heyward 1); Saint Francis 1-10 (Benzel). Assists: Wagner 14 (Thybulle 5); Saint Francis 10 (Dapaa 2, McLemore 2, Allen 2). Rebounds: Wagner 37 (Grava 9); Saint Francis 28 (Dapaa 6). Flights: Wagner 6 (Nwabadu 3); Saint Francis 6 (Dapaa 2). Turnover–Saint François 18, Wagner 12.


Officials: Zoe Robbins, Katyln Tortorice, Alex Leap

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