By Rob Abruzzese
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Jaymee Veney was heated after she was held scoreless and her St. Francis Terriers trailed Mount St. Mary’s by four points going into halftime. She knew that she had to have a big second half to get her team back in it, but she also knew that she couldn’t do that by playing angry.
“I was beyond frustrated,” Veney said after she only played seven of the first 20 minutes due to foul trouble. “Going into halftime, I was absolutely furious. But playing mad isn’t going to help anything so I tried not to worry about it, do what I have to do and let the fouls go.”
Veney managed to calm herself down and played a great game, scoring 14 points after halftime to lead the Terriers to a 52-47 come-from-behind victory over Mount St. Mary’s in Brooklyn Heights on Saturday. It was the first time in the last 10 games that the Terriers beat Mount.
“We’ve played them every year that I’ve been here and every time we lost by four or less,” Veney said. “So we knew it was going to be a hard game and it was going to be a battle. They know us well and know what we do. They’re one of the best scouting teams, I think, in our conference so it definitely makes it more difficult.”
It was a slow start as Mount had a 11-5 lead 12 minutes into the game. Veney picked up her second foul just five minutes in and the Terriers trailed 23-19 at halftime. They struggled shooting, they hit just 5-of-17 shots (29.4 percent) and were being out-rebounded 20-12.
“In the first conference game it is really tough to get started because the other team has scouted you for the last 10 games and know exactly what you are going to run,” Terriers guard Eilidh Simpson explained. “We just had a little bit of trouble early on, but so did they.
The second half was slow going as well as Mount picked up an eight-point lead after Sydney Henderson’s three with 13:22 left in the game. That’s when Veney got hot and started St. Francis’ 13-0 run with a clutch three-point shot. Mount managed to tie it up at 40 with 4:05 left to play, but Simpson hit a pair of free throws to retake the lead. Veney then hit a layup and a pair of free throws as the Terriers led by five with 1:58 to go.
Henderson made things interesting with a three pointer with 1:33 left, but Jasmin Robinson and Sarah Benedetti hit some clutch free throws down the stretch to keep the game out of reach.
Veney finished with 14 points and eight rebounds, Simpson had 15 points and Jessica Kaufman had eight points.
The Terriers have improved to 10-2 overall this season and have now extended their winning streak to six games. They don’t put a big importance on their record at this point though because this game was their first of the Northeast Conference portion of their schedule.
“(Going 9-2 in non-conference play) just gave us momentum going into conference,” Simpson said. “We considered our record to be 0-0 (going into this game) and now we’re 1-0. We’re feeling pretty good right now.”
Terriers head coach John Thurston was especially happy with the win as it came against Mount St. Mary’s, a team that some picked to win the NEC this season.
“Mount St. Mary’s is an outstanding team, a veteran team,” Thurston said. “They were extremely well prepared to play us. They do as good a job as anybody in the league in preparing for their opponents. They have great players, they have a lot of guns and experience. They are a tough opponent. It was a battle.”
St. Francis has a big game coming up against local rival LIU Brooklyn at the Barclays Center on Saturday, but after the game Thurston didn’t want to talk about that game because, he said, the team’s focus is on the present.