BROOKLYN, N.Y. — This week, the St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) women's basketball team follows up their recent six-game homestand with their first true road trip of 2017-18 beginning with a showdown against Division 1's New Jersey Institute of Technology on Monday (Dec. 12). Then, on Thursday (Dec. 14), the Bears head to Manhattan to take on Yeshiva University in a brief Skyline stint before facing another D1 opponent, Army, in West Point on Saturday (Dec. 16).
Monday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m.
- SJC is coming off of a one-game week in which they hosted Purchase State College in their lone action on Tuesday (Dec. 5). Despite a five-point halftime deficit, the Bears grinded out a double-digit victory, holding the Panthers to just 18 points after the break. The turning point was a 10-1 St. Joseph's run in the final 2:30 of regulation that derailed any hope of a Purchase comeback, capped off by four free-throws down the stretch from junior captain Victoria Porcasi (Franklin Square, N.Y./H. Frank Carey). Porcasi poured in a game-high 20 points, her sixth such outing thus far, and rookie Kelly O'Donnell (Brooklyn, N.Y./St. Edmund Prep) dropped 12 (6 reb) as well as junior Kellie O'Neill's (Brooklyn, N.Y./St. Edmund Prep) 10 (6 reb) to round out those in double-figures.
- NJIT enters play with an 0-10 record on the season, as they have yet to begin conference play. All but two of their losses have been by double-digits, and in their last game they fell to Binghamton 67-36 (Dec. 10). In the loss, the Highlanders were led by freshman Ellyn Stoll's (11 pts) fourth career 10+ scoring night. After graduating last year's leading-scorer Alana Dudley (11.5 ppg), New Jersey Tech has relied on the exploits of redshirt-junior guard Tattiana Torres (11 ppg) and senior forward Taj Lewis (10.2 ppg) to ignite their offense.
Keys to the Contest:
- For the Bears, efficient scoring from Porcasi (18.8 ppg, t-2nd) and O'Donnell (13.8 ppg, 12th) is essential, as they both sit top-12 in the Skyline in scoring entering play. Additionally, both Porcasi (12, dating back to last year) and O'Donnell (six) are riding double-digit scoring streaks, so the offense will run through the two of them as usual. Both squads tend to struggle on the boards, with SJC's 43.3 rpg ranking eighth in the Skyline and NJIT's 34.2 rpg tied for last in the Atlantic Sun, so an advantage on the glass could prove to be the difference.
- In their closest loss of the season, a 74-70 defeat to Farleigh Dickinson, the Highlanders shot 37.5% from deep and SJC should look to keep Stoll off of the three-point line (66 3FGA, 3rd in ASUN). As a team, however, the Bears allow treys to fall at just a 26.4% clip. Offensively, St. Joseph's should be focused on getting their role players involved, as the team is 3-1 when at least three players reach double-figures.
- Last season, New Jersey Tech defeated the Bears 87-53, also in Newark. The Highlanders have won three-straight vs. SJC and lead the all-time series 6-1, with the last Bears' win coming on Feb. 17, 1997 (53-52).
Thursday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m.
- The Macs currently sit at 2-8, 1-5 in the Skyline, and are riding a four-game losing streak (all league contests). Their last time on the court saw them handled at home by SJC Long Island with a lopsided final score of 72-49. Against the Golden Eagles, Yeshiva was led by a combined 33 points from upperclassmen Michal Alge (17) and Nicole Bick (16), but no other scorers surpassed 10 points. Their lone league win thus far came on the road at Sarah Lawrence, as Alge dominated en route to a 16-point, 19-rebound double-double and a convincing 67-49 victory. Before hosting the Bears, Yeshiva battles USMMA at Fordham University on Tuesday (Dec. 12) at 7 p.m.
Keys to the Contest:
- In fact, Alge enters the week at second in the Skyline in rebounding (15/game) to power a Yeshiva team that has racked up the most boards in the league to date (438). On the other hand, the Bears give up 47.9 rebounds a night which puts them at fifth in the conference. The Macs boast a top-tier scorer of their own in Bick, as she begins the week eighth in the Skyline with 15 points per game. Last season, Porcasi average 13.5 ppg in two games versus Yeshiva and she should look to get hot from three this time around, as Yeshiva is one of two teams in the Skyline allowing more than 28% of opposing triples to fall (28.4%).
- All-time, the Bears sit at a whopping 32-1 against the Maccabees and have won all 17 matchups as conference opponents. Moreso, St. Joseph's is riding a 22-game winning streak in the all-time series.
Saturday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m.
- Entering the week, Army (West Point) holds a 6-4 record and are yet to match up with a Patriot League opponent. They began the season 1-2, but reeled off a five-game winning streak at the end of November to kickstart momentum towards their conference opener on Dec. 29. Scoring-leader Madison Hovren (15.8 ppg) carried the squad averaging 17.4 points a night in the five wins, highlighted by a 21-point outburst against NJIT. However, the Black Knights have dropped two-straight outings by double-digits since their streak, with their last loss coming at Marquette (83-53).
Keys to the Contest:
- Hovren is the only Army player averaging double-digit points, but three other Black Knights contribute at least seven points per game. Therefore, Hovren and her post prowess will be the main obstacle to a St. Joseph's victory, as the 5-foot-11 forward is averaging a double-double with the second-best rebounding rate (10.7/game) in the Patriot League. Six-foot junior center Caitlyn Staab (Lynnbrook, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) will most likely take on the Hovren assignment and she currently leads the Bears with 7.6 caroms per game. On the perimeter, besides their top bucket-getters, SJC will look to O'Neill to provide playmaking as she comes in leading the Skyline with a 1.4 assist-to-turnover ratio.
- This is the first-ever meeting between the two programs.