RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Felician University women's basketball team waited a month to begin its 2018-19 home schedule, only to fall to Franklin Pierce University, 65-54, in non-conference action on Saturday afternoon at Job Gymnasium.
Sophomore guard Bionca Chambers (Bronx, N.Y./New Milford [N.J.]) came off the bench to lead Felician (1-5) with 12 points in just 12 minutes. Senior forward Kameron Stone (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Spellman) recorded 10 points, nine rebounds and three steals for the Golden Falcons.
Franklin Pierce (2-7) received 17 points from sophomore guard Sophia Holmes (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee). Freshman forward Izzy Lipinski (Farmington, Conn./Farmington) who made 5 of 8 field-goal attempts, registered 14 points and 10 rebounds to help the Ravens to a 44-30 advantage on the boards.
Opening day of this year's NCAA Division II basketball schedule was Nov. 9, making the season 29 days old before Felician played on the Job Gym floor for the first time. When the appointed time arrived, the Golden Falcons began slowly, tallying only three points in the first four minutes. However, the teams remained within one possession of each other for the almost the entire first period, until a lay-up by FPU's Rylee Skinner (Leominster, Mass./Leominster) at 0:28 allowed the visitors to exit the quarter ahead, 17-12.
The Ravens scored the first seven points of period two. Lay-ups by Holmes to complete consecutive possessions gave FPU a 26-12 spread with 6:03 to play until halftime. The Golden Falcons came within seven points on two occasions before a last-second Holmes jumper sent the Ravens into the locker room ahead, 34-25.
The visitors took full control during the third quarter. Once again, Felician got off to a slow offensive start, failing to score for the first 4 ½ minutes. That was enough time for two lay-ups by Freya Cooney (Woodbridge, England/Copleston) to cap an 11-0 FPU run for a 20-point lead. The Ravens took their largest lead of the game, 56-32, after a driving lay-up by Lipinski late in the third and were ahead by 23 at the buzzer. FPU outscored the Golden Falcons, 24-10, for the period.
Felician began the fourth quarter with a 10-2 run to trail, 60-45, with 5:06 remaining in regulation time. But the hosts quickly ran out of time, not scoring again until 2:38 remained. The final 11-point margin was as close as the Golden Falcons were to FPU since the opening seconds of the second half.
Felician forced 24 turnovers but converted them into only 14 points. The Golden Falcons were out-shot from the floor, 47-32 percent. Senior Kayla Diaz (Clifton, N.J./Paterson Eastside) totaled nine points for Felician. FPU freshman Lisa Sulejmani (Burlington, Vt./Rice Memorial) scored 11 points with four assists.
Felician began a six-game homestand which spans four weeks, covering final exams and the NCAA Division II dead period. The Golden Falcons host Clarion University on Dec. 15 at 1 p.m.