Kovatch hits 10 3-pointers in leading Flash to victory

Photo by J.D. Cavrich 1/6/18 Jessica Kovatch shoots over St. Francis Brooklyn's Jade Johnson.

LORETTO — Through the first three quarters of play, Saint Francis allowed St. Francis Brooklyn to hang around — giving the Terriers hope of victory.

The Red Flash made sure to begin the final stanza by quickly ending that notion.

Leading by just five, SFU came out firing as it reeled off 10 of the first 11 points to take control of the Terriers in a 90-75 Northeast Conference win on Saturday afternoon at DeGol Arena.

“I think it’s a great win to beat a pretty good team like that on a day that I don’t think we played our best ball,” Haigh said. “I think we can still get better defensively, rebounding and offensively. Then, we had a lot of great individual performances.”

Saint Francis (8-7 overall, 3-0 NEC) used the entire team — keyed by several record-setting or tying performances — to outscore the visitors, 29-20, after leading 61-55.

Jessica Kovatch, who had 25 points through three quarters, accounted for 14 in the fourth, including four of her SFU record-breaking 10 3-point field goals made.

“There were too many where I didn’t think we forced her (Kovatch) inside the 3-point line. We let her get the shot,” St. Francis Brooklyn coach John Thurston said. “If you get her inside the ‘3’ and she makes those 10, that’s minus 10 points. But, I thought she had too many where she just got her feet set, and you can’t let her do that.”

With her season-high 39 points, Kovatch moved past Samantha Leach and Colleen Joyce and now sits in sixth place on the all-time scoring list with 1,647.

Kovatch knocked down back-to-back triples as part of the 10-1 run that saw the Flash lead grow to 71-56 at the 6:30 mark.

“I honestly wasn’t keeping track. I felt good shooting it today,” Kovatch said. “My teammates realized that, and they wanted to get me the ball … They were going down today, too.”

From that point, the lead kept increasing, with SFU enjoying its largest of 21 points when freshman Karson Swogger set a new career-high of 13 points on a trey with 1:46 left to play.

“You just got to come out and be ready to play,” Swogger said. “I’m not starting like I’m used to, so that’s something new … Just coming in ready to play and give it your all. You know the way we play, it’s a quick sub, so you go in there and play as hard as you can.”

As a team, the Red Flash set a new season-high by burying 16 3-pointers from five different players.

“Karson Swogger was great. Obviously Jess (Kovatch) was great offensively,” Haigh said. “Courtney’s (Zezza) defense really helped spur us in the third and fourth quarter when she’s blocking all of those shots, and those turn into run-outs.”

While the Saint Francis offense had plenty of firepower, the defense helped provide the fuel. Mostly notable was Zezza’s career-tying eight blocks — one short of equaling the school record.

SFU forced Brooklyn (4-9, 0-2 NEC) 22 turnovers, 18 of which came on steals, including six by Ace Harrison, that they turned into 25 points. In addition, they fell two blocks shy of the program record by recording 11 on the afternoon.

“You give a really good offensive team, with multiple great offensive players, you can’t give them extra possessions,” Thurston said.

The first three quarters saw Saint Francis grab a three-possession lead several times only to have the Terriers close the gap before SFU increased it once again.

Harrison got Saint Francis on the board first with a jumper — a lead it didn’t relinquish the rest of the game.

The closest the Terriers got was 51-50 when Jade Johnson capped off a 9-2 spurt with a 3-pointer at the 5:11 mark of the third.

ST. FRANCIS BROOKLYN (75): Delaney 3-12 1-4 9, Hickman 2-4 2-4 6, O’Neill 3-4 3-4 9, Palarino 1-7 0-0 2, Johnson 6-15 0-0 16, Ehling 4-6 0-0 12, Keltos 4-8 2-2 11, Anderson 2-5 0-0 4, Lassen 1-3 0-0 2, Direnzo 0-1 1-6 1, Carangelo 1-4 1-2 3. Totals: 27-69 10-22 75.

SAINT FRANCIS (90): Duling 2-5 0-0 4, Harrison 3-10 1-2 7, Kroll 5-11 1-3 12, Wynn 2-3 0-0 5, Kovatch 13-28 3-4 39, Swogger 4-8 2-2 13, Morrow 1-3 0-0 2, Mastellone 0-2 0-0 0, Carroll 1-1 0-0 3, Scott 0-1 0-0 0, Falvey 0-2 0-0 0, Zezza 1-5 3-4 5, Smith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 32-79 10-15 90.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

St. Francis Brooklyn 21 14 20 20 — 75

Saint Francis 26 20 15 29 — 90

3-point field goals: St. Francis Brooklyn 11-25 (Ehling 4-4, Johnson 4-9, Delaney 2-7, Keltos 1-2, O’Neill 0-1, Palarino 0-1, Anderson 0-1); Saint Francis 16-44 (Kovatch 10-21, Swogger 3-6, Carroll 1-1, Wynn 1-2, Kroll 1-4, Morrow 0-1, Falvey 0-1, Mastellone 0-2, Harrison 0-3, Zezza 0-3). Rebounds: St. Francis Brooklyn 50 (Hickman, Carangelo 6 each); Saint Francis 43 (Duling 9). Assists: St. Francis Brooklyn 18 (O’Neill 5); Saint Francis 18 (Duling 3). Blocks: St. Francis Brooklyn 1 (Palarino 1); Saint Francis 11 (Zezza 8). Steals: St. Francis Brooklyn 7 (Hickman 2); Saint Francis 18 (Harrison 6). Turnovers: St. Francis Brooklyn 22; Saint Francis 12. Total fouls: St. Francis Brooklyn 15; Saint Francis 22. Fouled out: none. Technicals: none. A: 303.

Officials: John Palermo, Ryan Nunes, Eric Stakem.

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