November wasn’t a good month if you’re LIU Brooklyn’s women’s head basketball coach Gail Striegler or a member of this season’s LIU Brooklyn women’s basketball team.
It is tough when you go through the first month of the college basketball season and you come out of it winless in six games. What makes it even tougher was that they played five of those six games at home at the Steinberg Wellness Center and couldn’t come up with one win.
This is a team that was expected to take a step forward this season as they continue rebuilding after a 7-22 year last season. They were picked to finish eighth in the NEC Preseason Coaches Poll in October. Yet, things have not gone as planned early on for Coach Striegler and company.
So why is LIU winless as they enter December? You don’t have to look too far. It is the same problem they had last season as well. It is their offense. It is struggling mightily.
LIU Brooklyn is dead last in the NEC in scoring at 52.7 points per game. That is a full seven points less than the next best team. This team is also dead last in field goal shooting (32.3%) and three-point field goal shooting (18.2%). They also last in blocked shots, tied for last in assists, have the second-worst assist-to-turnover ratio and are last in defensive rebounds. It is no wonder why this team has struggled to win this season.
They have lost their games by a margin of 10.3 points a game. One of LIU’s opponents (Columbia) has their only win of their season against the Blackbirds.
LIU currently has one player averaging double figures and that senior forward Cleandra Roberts who is averaging 16.0 ppg (7th in the NEC) and 9.7 rpg (3rd in the NEC). Roberts is only one of the two players on LIU who is shooting above 40% from the field at 41.5%. She has led LIU in scoring in five of their six games this season. The other player to shoot above 40% is senior forward Fanny Cavallo, she is shooting a team-best 47.4% and averaging 7.2 ppg and 5.3 rpg.
One problem this team has had which was suppose to be a strength coming into this season has been their three point shooting. No player who has shot more than 10 three-pointers is shooting above 27% from downtown. Senior guard Courtney Sullivan is team’s best three-point shooter at the moment and she is just shooting 26.1% from three. Sullivan has only played in LIU’s last three games as she was out of the lineup for the first three games of the season. Sullivan is currently LIU’s second-leading scorer at 8.7 ppg.
Junior guard Letava Whippy is averaging 7.3 ppg and 6.8 rpg although she is shooting 38.5% from the floor. Her biggest problem has been turnovers. She leads LIU in turnovers with 27 which is 3rd worst in the NEC. Sophomore Sophie Bashin is going through an early sophomore slump after missing the LIU’s first two games. She is averaging 7.3 ppg but is shooting very poorly with a 23.1 FG% and 21.7 3FG%. Redshirt junior point guard Kelly Robinson has also gotten off to a slow start this season. She is averaging 3.8 ppg and 2.8 apg while shooting 25%. Her assist-to-turnover ratio is just 1.13.
The freshman aussie Aleisha Myers has struggled through her first six collegiate games. She is averaging 5.3 ppg and 2.8 rpg. She is shooting just 23.4% from the field and 5 of 31 from three (16.1%). She had started the first five games before Coach Striegler started Courtney Sullivan over her in the LIU’s last game. Her fellow aussie teammate Demi Tomlinson has yet to appear for LIU this season. Sophomore Jahmia Phillips has also yet to play this season.
LIU’s defense isn’t bad at all. They are fourth in the NEC in scoring defense (63.0 ppg) and are holding teams to 0.94 points per possession. Only one team so far (McNeese State) has been able to score over 1.0 ppp on LIU this season.
December isn’t going to be an easy month for the LIU Brooklyn women’s basketball team as they venture on to a five-game non-conference road trip starting at Penn on Thursday, December 5th and then having to face Towson and ex-NEC foe Monmouth before heading out to Arizona for two road games against Grand Canyon University and Northern Arizona before starting the NEC season in January.
LIU will need to find their shooting and scoring touch if they are to get themselves in the win column before NEC play. This team needs to gain some confidence before they enter the conference season. They need to find their outside shooting quickly and reduce the turnovers which has been killing them through the first six games of the season. We’ll see what progress Coach Striegler and her team can make away from Downtown Brooklyn as they look to put this miserable November behind them and try to turn the page in a positive direction in December.