Monmouth 57

(23-9, 13-5 NEC)

St Francis (PA) 72

(22-11, 14-4 NEC)

    3:00 PM ET, March 13, 2011

    1 2 T
    MONM 24 3357
    SFU 36 3672

    Top Performers

    Monmouth: A. Martin 19 Pts, 8 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Blk

    St. Francis (PA): S. Leach 19 Pts, 1 Reb, 1 Stl

    St. Francis mauls Monmouth for 11th NCAA bid in 15 years

    Associated Press

    LORETTO, Pa. -- Saint Francis coach Susan Robinson Fruchtl got showered with a bucket of Gatorade just before she was interviewed on television in front of her team's giddy fans.

    Getting into the NCAA tournament is always fun for the Red Flash, especially when they're playing at home.

    Brittany Lilley had 19 points and 10 assists, and Saint Francis, Pa., earned another Northeast Conference tournament title and trip to the NCAAs with a 72-57 win Sunday over Monmouth. Samantha Leach, the NEC's player of the year, also scored 19 for the Red Flash (22-11), who won their 11th title since 1996.

    "For me personally, it means everything," said Leach, a senior guard. "This is my last go-around. We just don't want to be satisfied just getting there."

    If Saint Francis can dominate its next opponent the way it overwhelmed Monmouth in the second half Sunday, it might have a shot of being more than just one-and-done.

    Alysha Womack and Abby Martin each scored 19 points for Monmouth (23-9). The 5-foot-10 Martin muscled her way into the lane to hit 9 of 16 shots and grab eight rebounds.

    After leading by 12 at halftime, the Red Flash missed 14 of their first 16 shots to allow the Hawks to close to 40-36.

    Then the Red Flash turned up the defensive pressure, forcing a slew of turnovers during a 16-1 run to put the game out of reach.

    Allison Daly's layup after a steal put Saint Francis up 11 with about 10 minutes left. The Red Flash stretched the lead to 19 late behind strong play off the bench from freshman Alexandra Williams, who had 11 points and six rebounds.

    Monmouth's league-best defense, which had allowed just 54.5 points per game, faltered in the biggest game of the year.

    "Like coach said, we didn't even bring a B-plus game," said guard Erin Rooney, who finished with 13 points. "We didn't feel like ourselves out there."

    The second-seeded Hawks fell short of taking down the top-seeded Red Flash on the road -- a route that Saint Francis traveled last year in winning the conference title at Long Island.

    No need to hit the road this year -- the Red Flash earned home-court advantage throughout the tourney by winning eight of their nine conference games at home.

    "That was the goal. We knew we had a great chance to win it again if we got the home-court advantage," Robinson Fruchtl said. "Our kids really played relaxed today, and they really relaxed from start to finish."

    With 1:34 left and the Red Flash leading by 15, the student section began waving around a handwritten sign that read "back2back NEC CHAMPS." Then Robinson Fruchtl received her Gatorade shower thanks to Lilley and backup center Rebecca Keegan.

    Shene Fleming had 13 rebounds as the Red Flash controlled the boards and limited second-chance opportunities for the sloppy Hawks, who committed 17 turnovers.

    With seniors Leach and Daly and junior Lilley leading the way, Saint Francis used its experience to regroup and weather any Monmouth runs. The Hawks' top three scorers in Martin, Womack and Rooney are all sophomores.

    "That's the difference, the experience. They're used to being there," said Monmouth coach Stephanie Gaitley. "Part of [the lesson] is getting there and really learning from the experience."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 57 72
    FG Made-Attempted 24-55 (.436) 29-65 (.446)
    3P Made-Attempted 4-15 (.267) 6-12 (.500)
    FT Made-Attempted 5-11 (.455) 8-15 (.533)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 16 (0/0) 10 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 2 19

    Game Leaders

    PointsA. Martin 19S. Leach 19
    ReboundsA. Womack 9S. Fleming 13
    AssistsE. Rooney 5B. Lilley 10
    StealsA. Womack 1A. Daly 3
    BlocksA. Martin 2A. Smith 1

    2010-11 Season

    Jan 17, 2011 MONM 75, @SFU 68Recap | Box Score
    Feb 21, 2011 @MONM 60, SFU 51Recap | Box Score
    » Mar 13, 2011 @SFU 72, MONM 57Recap | Box Score