Moon Township, Pa. (January 5, 2019) – Robert Morris held off a late fourth-quarter rally from Mount St. Mary's and escaped with a 70-58 victory on Saturday afternoon in the Northeast Conference (NEC) opener for both teams.
RMU held a 62-50 advantage with 2:20 remaining in the contest before an 8-0 Mountaineer run cut the lead to just four. Daly Sullivan began the rally with a steal and a bucket in the paint, and following another steal by Bridget Birkhead, Juliette Lawless got to the line and converted a pair to bring the Mount within eight. The Mountaineers forced two more turnovers on the Colonials' next pair of possessions, and capitalized with two foul shots by Sullivan and a layup from Lawless, as the Mount roared back to make it 62-58 contest with 1:25 on the clock.
Nneka Ezeigbo put an end to the rally with a traditional three-point play on the other end to stretch the RMU advantage back to seven at the 1:08 mark. The Colonials forced a miss on the Mount's next possession, and Isabella Posset converted a pair of free throws with 52 seconds on the clock to increase the lead to 67-58. RMU made three of its final four at the line to close out the 70-58 victory.
The loss for the Mountaineers dropped them to 6-6 overall and 0-1 in NEC play, while Robert Morris improved to 4-8 on the year and 1-0 in the conference.
Lawless scored a game-high 28 points to record her sixth 20-plus point performance in the last seven games. The senior went 7-of-11 from the field and converted 12-of-15 at the line to set a new career high for free throws made. Rebecca Lee added six points and 11 rebounds, and Michaela Harrison notched nine points and two boards.
For the Colonials, Irekpitan Ozzy-Momodu led the way with 17 points to go along with eight rebounds. Posset added 13 points, seven boards and seven assists, and Nadege Pluviose registered seven points and 13 rebounds.
The Mount posted a 31.4 percent mark from the field in the contest and went just 3-of-16 (.188) from long range. RMU shot 40.3 percent overall and made 5-of-21 (.238) from deep. The Colonials tallied 15 offensive rebounds and 15 second chance points in the tilt.
Robert Morris got out to a quick start with the game's first eight points in the opening three minutes of play. Lee put the Mount on the board at the 6:27 mark with a second-chance bucket in the paint, and the Mountaineers followed with the next two baskets to make it two-point game with 4:09 remaining in the quarter. With just under a minute on the clock, Lawless hit a long three to give the Mountaineers their first lead of the contest, 13-12, which they took into the second period.
The Colonials began the second quarter on a 12-0 run, which included three-pointers from Honoka Ikematsu and Nia Adams, as they opened a 24-13 lead with 6:30 on the clock. The RMU defense stymied the Mountaineers early in the quarter, holding them without a field goal for the first 5:05 before Bridget Birkhead drained a deep three-pointer from the corner to put an end to the drought. A pair of free throws from Lawless cut the deficit to six points, but RMU answered with the next four to pad its lead back to double-digits. The Colonials took a 30-21 advantage into the halftime break.
Both teams struggled from the field in the opening half, as Robert Morris shot 38.5 percent and the Mount shot just 30.4 percent.
Mount St. Mary's continues its road swing at reigning NEC Champion Saint Francis U on Monday (Jan. 7), with opening tip set for 7 p.m.