No. 4 Nova Southeastern knocks off second ranked opponent in two days
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Fourth-ranked Nova Southeastern defeated its second top-25 opponent in as many days at the season-opening Tipoff Classic, topping No. 7 Stonehill on Sunday afternoon at the NSU Arena 96-77.
The Sharks (2-0) were led by Richelle Carach, who set a career high in points for the second consecutive game, and point guard Jessica Russi, who broke her own school record in assists. After scoring 19 on Saturday versus No. 22 Washburn, Carach had 20 Sunday while tying her career high with 13 rebounds for her fourth career double-double. Russi eclipsed her mark of 12 assists set last season against Palm Beach Atlantic, and also added 10 points.
In all, there were six players in double digits for the Sharks: Carach, Taylor Buie with 17, 13 from Amanda Burakoski, 12 from Danielle Robinson, 11 by Molly Blomer and Russi's 10.
NSU shot 63.3 percent from the field in the second half and 55.7 percent overall, and outrebounded the Skyhawks (1-1), 42-27. It held the visitors to only one offensive rebound in the first half of play.
"We played well together this weekend and put a lot of points on the board," NSU head coach LeAnn Freeland said. "Our offense looks good and it is evident our players have played together for a few years."
Early on, the game was back and forth, and a layup by Stonehill's Casey McLaughlin tied things up at 15-15 at the 8:09 mark. The Sharks then exploded for a 14-1 run during the next three minutes, including five points from Russi and four from Carach.
The Skyhawks weren't able to cut it down to single digits again until 1:01 left, 40-32, and trailed the Sharks by seven at the half 45-38. Carach already had 14 points and eight rebounds at that point.
"Everyone is excited to see Riki playing so well," Freeland said. "She totally committed herself to fitness and basketball over the summer, and her production these two games is a testament to her hard work and focus."
NSU would lead by eight at the least and 21 at the most in the second half. Buie hit three 3-pointers after the break, leading to 14 of her 17 points. In addition, she set a new career high in the game with seven assists.