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Kopp’s Block Party Keeps LIU Perfect

Kopp’s Block Party Keeps LIU Perfect
Photo by Christina Morgera

David Otero
Sports Editor

On Saturday, December 1, the LIU Post women’s basketball team defeated the University of Bridgeport Purple Knights (5-2) by a score of 73-68. The Lady Pioneers (4-0) remained perfect due in large part to senior center Samantha Kopp’s huge game on both sides of the ball. Kopp scored 12 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, blocked seven shots and played physical defense all game long on Bridgeport’s best scorer, ECC Preseason Player of the Year Tanisha Carter. Kopp and the LIU defense made life difficult for Carter who ended dropping 14 points on a rough 6-22 from the floor.

The first half was sloppy from both sides as there were turnovers throughout the first 20 minutes of action. Sophomore guard Chelsea Williams sparked the offense early for the Lady Pioneers as she showed a variety of different looks to score the basketball. Williams attacked the basket to draw contact and get to the foul line. She showed her mid-range game and also drained a couple of three-pointers. At the end of the first half, despite being unable to control the ball on offense, the Lady Pioneers still led 31-23.

With just over six minutes left remaining in the game and the Lady Pioneers’ lead ballooning to 18 points, it appeared as if the game was easily in the hands of LIU, but that was not the case. The Purple Knights went on a run fueled by junior guard Aziza Patterson. She scored 15 of her 24 total points in the final six minutes of the game to cut the huge lead to as little as four points with 40 seconds left in regulation.

Despite the late run, the Lady Pioneers did enough to defeat the team’s East Coast Conference rivals. This game signified the ECC opener for both squads, as well as the home opener for the Lady Pioneers.

Senior forward Nicolette Marciniak, previously recognized as the ECC Player of the Week earlier this season, and Williams both led the Lady Pioneers with 18 points apiece. Marciniak was in foul trouble late in the game, but she still managed to make plays late in the game when her team counted on her the most. Williams finished with 18 points (6-13), five rebounds and three assists.

The Lady Pioneers had excellent play from its guards the entire afternoon, especially when it came to rebounds. Senior Ashley Caggiano finished with six points, seven rebounds and five assists. Junior guard Alexis Peters had seven points, secured seven rebounds and dished out four assists. In addition, junior guard Kenyatta Sears stifled her opponents defensively as she caused several turnovers with her aggressive style.

Although the Lady Pioneers came away with a victory, there are improvements that need to be made. First and foremost, winning on a consistent basis is going to be extremely difficult when you have 32 turnovers, as the Lady Pioneers had against Bridgeport. In addition, it is imperative for the Lady Pioneers to shoot better from both the free-throw line and from beyond the arc. As a team, the Lady Pioneers shot 13-22 (59%) from the line and 4-17 (24%) from three-point range.

The next game for the Lady Pioneers is on Saturday, December 8, at home against Pace University (5-1). Tune into 88.1 FM or to hear all your LIU Post basketball coverage. Pregame starts at 1 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

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