In 2016-17, the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers men’s and women’s basketball squads were a combined 12-49, with the men (4-27) finishing in last place in the Northeast Conference, and the women (8-22) squeaking into the playoffs, getting the eighth and final spot, before falling in the NEC Quarterfinals.
Close to one full year later, the college has two of the most dangerous teams in the NEC, with the playoffs within arm’s reach.
This past week, the conference was put on notice.
The St. Francis women’s team (11-15, 7-7 NEC) opened last week by defeating the Robert Morris Colonials, who entered Brooklyn Heights tied for the conference’s best record, 49-47.
The Terriers followed up by handling their rivals over at LIU in the 25th annual ESPN 3-aired “Battle of Brooklyn” by a final score of 64-54 to open Saturday’s St. Francis basketball doubleheader.
The win put the Terrier women in a tie for fourth place in the conference, with four regular season games remaining before the post-season.
It was also the Terriers’ fifth Battle of Brooklyn victory in the last six years, and their 10th win over LIU Brooklyn in their last 13 meetings.
“We’ve just beaten the number-one team,” said Terrier sophomore guard and game MVP Jade Johnson, who had 23 points against LIU and is averaging a team-high 15.1 points per game this season. “We’re playing some good defense and keeping teams to low scores, so hopefully we’ll keep that up and keep winning.”
The St. Francis men’s squad (13-15, 10-6 NEC) also defeated LIU Brooklyn in their first game of the week this past Thursday. They began the week in a tie with for third place in the tight NEC.
The Terriers defeated the Blackbirds 84-79, just one week ahead of the official Battle of Brooklyn on the men’s side, which will take place on Thursday, February 22, at LIU.
The Terriers put down the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights two days later, which also aired on ESPN 3, rising above their New Jersey-based foe by a final of 87-74, putting the Terriers in a three-way tie for second place in the conference with two games to go before the playoffs.
“Every day we’ve got to come in, play smart, play hard, play together, and yeah, take it one game at a time,” said Terrier guard Rasheem Dunn, who scored 21 on Saturday and averages a team-best 15.1 points per game.
After Thursday’s Battle of Brooklyn, the men will wrap-up their regular season on Saturday at Central Connecticut State. The men’s NEC Playoffs will begin on February 28.
On the women’s side, the Terriers will hit the road to face Sacred Heart on Saturday and Fairleigh Dickinson on Monday before ending the season at home with games on March 2 and March 4.
The women’s NEC playoffs will tip-off on March 7.