The LIU Brooklyn women’s basketball team got off to a rough start this year, with eight loses in a row to start the season and a 2-7 record to start Northeast Conference play. Lately, the Blackbirds have turned things around and are now headed to the NEC Playoffs after they beat Fairleigh Dickinson 56-40 in Downtown Brooklyn Monday night.
The turnaround began on Feb. 4 with a eight-point win over Sacred Heart. That was the beginning of a stretch where they would win five out of their next seven including wins against St. Francis PA, Sacred Heart, Wagner, three teams ahead of them in the NEC standings.
On Monday it was Cleandra Roberts, who has been the Blackbirds’ most consistent player, that lead them once again. The senior had 19 points and seven rebounds to lead the team, Aleisha Myers contributed with 12 and Sophie Bhasin had nine. Fanny Cavallo had just four with 14 rebounds including eight offensive boards.
This win wasn’t easy as Fairleigh Dickinson led the Blackbirds for most of the first half. They briefly took a lead when Bhasin and Courtney Sullivan hit back-to-back threes, but it didn’t last long.
The two teams were tied at 34-34 with 12:46 to play when Roberts hit a pair of free throws that ultimately put the Blackbirds up for good. Fairleigh Dickinson hung around for a while after that until Bhasin hit a pair of free throws to start a 17-2 run that finished off the game.
The Blackbirds are now in eighth place overall with a 7-9 record in NEC play with two games left. They finish off their schedule with a couple of away games against sixth place Sacred Heart and wrap up in Brooklyn Heights against third place St. Francis. They’re already in the playoffs, but those games will have a big impact on seeding in the tight NEC not to mention the big momentum they could gain by winning one or both of those games.