by Daniel Fappiano
With the women’s basketball season winding down, seeding for the Northeast Conference tournament is beginning to take shape. Out of the ten NEC teams, only eight will make the tournament, giving the final weeks of the season some of the most contested games of the year.
Currently, the Colonials of Robert Morris and Red Flash of St. Francis (PA) sit atop the conference with a 9-1 record. However, due to Robert Morris holding an overall 16-5 record compared to St. Francis’ 14-8, they would have the one seed if the season ended today.
The Colonials excel at the defensive end, leading the conference in scoring defense, scoring margin, field goal percentage defense and rebounding defense. Their 55.3 average points allowed per game is 14th best in the entire country.
The Red Flash, on the other hand, are known for their offense. They lead the conference with 80.1 points per game. No other team in the NEC averages more than 66. As a team, St. Francis has the 22nd best offense in the country, while junior guard Jessica Kovatch is tied for the NCAA lead with 24.5 points per game.
Robert Morris and St. Francis (PA) have the one and two seeds in the tournament locked up. Every other team is looking up at them as they battle for position.
Farleigh Dickinson is currently riding a five-game win streak and sits at third place in the conference with a 6-4 record. FDU has been on a bit of scoring tear during their win streak, scoring at least 61 points every game. The Knights have also proven to be the pinnacle of consistency, leading the conference in field goal percentage.
Below FDU are two teams sitting at 5-5 in Bryant and LIU Brooklyn. Currently, the Bulldogs would hold the advantage over the Blackbirds after a win in their late December match-up. However, LIU will have a chance for revenge when the two teams meet on March 2.
That match-up could very well determine the fourth seed in the NEC tournament. In a field of just eight, finishing top four is crucial as those four earn themselves home court advantage. Both Bryant and LIU will look to edge each other out and win the ever so valuable fourth seed.
Just below them are St. Francis (BKN) and Mt. Saint Mary’s at 4-6. Both teams are in an intriguing situation as they have just as much of a shot at earning a top-four seed as they do missing the tournament completely. Both the Terriers and Mountaineers will control their destiny in terms of seeding to end the year.
Rounding out the conference are Central Connecticut and Sacred Heart at 3-7 and Wagner at 2-8. With CCSU sweeping the season series against SHU, the Blue Devils currently hold the eighth seed in the tournament. However, both CCSU and SHU need at least one more win to call themselves safely in the field.
Wagner seemed out a few weeks ago, but following a surprise win against SFBK, they’re one win away from contention. The Seahawks still have losses to both Central and Sacred Heart, but their chances seem at least a bit better than they had weeks prior.
If the season ended right now, the first round match-ups would be CCSU at Robert Morris, Mt. Saint Mary’s at St. Francis (PA), St. Francis (BKN) at Farleigh Dickinson and LIU Brooklyn at Bryant.
However, with just about four weeks left in the season, these match-ups are bound to change as the Northeast Conference looks to crown their 2017-18 Women’s Basketball champion.