The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

March 10, 2013

SFU women to host CCSU in NEC tournament

LORETTO — The last time the St. Francis University women’s basketball team played Central Connecticut State, the Red Flash were handed a 76-71 loss.

That game just happened to take place Monday.

St. Francis gets an opportunity to avenge that setback when CCSU travels to DeGol Arena today for a Northeast Conference quarterfinal. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.

The Red Flash (15-14 overall, 10-8 in the NEC) earned the fourth seed in the conference tournament. The Blue Devils (16-13, 100-8) are seeded fifth.

Home has been a kind place for St. Francis in postseason play. The Red Flash are 23-1 all-time in postseason games at DeGol Arena with the last defeat coming in 1992. Overall, St. Francis owns a 39-7 record in the NEC tournament.

Junior Alli Williams, who played her high school basketball at Bishop Guilfoyle, has been one of the conference’s elite players this season.

Williams averages 17.4 points per game, which ranks second in the conference, and 10.8 rebounds. Williams’ 21 double-doubles, which rank sixth in Division I, helped land her on the All-NEC first team. College Sports Madness tabbed Williams the NEC Player of the Year.

“It is well deserved recognition for a great season, Alli has had an amazing year,” SFU coach Joe Haigh said.

“I am really happy for her, first-team honors are a great accomplishment. Alli has been the catalyst for what we do on defense all year, she ranks third in the country in steals per game.”

The Blue Devils are led by sisters Jaclyn and Jessica Babe, who played high school basketball at Mt. Lebanon.

Jaclyn Babe averages 16.0 points per game and Jessica Babe averages 7.2 rebounds. Jaclyn Babe scored 29 points in CCSU’s win against St. Francis on Monday.

St. Francis won the first meeting, 67-62, on Jan. 7. Williams finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds.