To say LIU Brooklyn women’s basketball has had a rough non-conference season would be quite an understatement. It has been a tough go for the Blackbirds and it only got tougher after a 57-45 loss to UMBC at the Barclays Center on Wednesday evening.
With the loss, LIU completes non-conference play at 1-10 before starting up NEC play next Thursday against Mount St. Mary’s.
The Blackbirds really challenged themselves in November and December, playing games at Ohio State and Seton Hall as well as against Wisconsin-Milwaukee and George Mason but unfortunately for them, they didn’t get the results they desired.
“We played a really good non-conference schedule so that definitely prepared us.” LIU Brooklyn head coach Stephanie Oliver said after the game. “I think we need to focus on eliminating our turnovers and doing the little things like making layups and knocking down free throws.
The Blackbirds once again had difficulties with turnovers as they committed 23 of them against UMBC. The Retrievers took advantage by scoring 22 points off those turnovers compared to LIU’s six.
LIU Brooklyn shot just under 30 percent for the game after having a tough first half shooting from the floor as they went 5 for 28 during the opening twenty minutes which was an ugly half of basketball for both teams that ending with LIU having a 15-13 lead going into the locker room.
LIU were able to out-rebound UMBC by 43-31 and got ten more offensive rebounds yet were only able to get ten second-chance points off those extra chances.
“I think we gave a really good effort today,” Oliver said. “We played hard, we knocked down free throws. We came out with a lot of energy in the second half. Some shots just didn’t fall our way to start the game and that hurt us a little bit.”
The Blackbirds were led by senior guard Shanovia Dove who finished with a double-double, 19 points, and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes off the bench. It is Dove’s second double-double of the season.
This was Dove’s first game coming off the bench for LIU this season after starting in the team’s first ten games as Oliver was hoping to get more scoring and energy off the bench.
Freshman Aja Boyd had another solid game for LIU with nine points and eight rebounds. Oliver started four freshmen as Gabrielle Caponegro, Victoria Powell, and Seneca Richards all got the start as well.
“I think our freshman are playing really well and stepping into the immediate role of getting immediate minutes so I think that makes the future bright and that is only going to help us in conference.”
It is not the start to the season Oliver was obvious hoping for but she feels that taking on such a challenging non-conference schedule can only help as the season now moves into conference play next week.
“I think we got tougher,” Oliver said. “1-10 is not easy to swallow but I think we got tougher and I think we saw some people step up which can only lead us in the right direction.”
What is good for this team is that next week, their record reset goes back to 0-0 as least conference wise and they can take what they learned about themselves during this tough stretch and hope to improve and ultimately get themselves back into the NEC tournament come March.