Bulldogs drop 54-43 decision to FDU

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Junior guard Danielle Douglas (Silver Spring, Md.) dropped a team-high 17 points, but it was not enough for the home side, as Fairleigh Dickinson handed the Bryant University women's basketball team a 54-43 defeat on Monday evening at the Chace Athletic Center, dropping the Bulldogs to 12-8 on the season and 5-5 in Northeast Conference play.

The win by the Knights (10-12, 5-5 NEC) marked the first time in seven meetings between both squads that the visiting team emerged victorious. After a slow start to the game, reigning First-Team All-NEC member Mariyah Laury exploded for a game-high 21 points, marking one of three players to finish the evening in double-digit scoring figures for FDU.

In addition to Douglas, the Bulldogs were led by Meredith Soper's (Winthrop, Mass.) game-high 12 rebounds. The junior also dished a team-high four assists. But a season-low 24.2 percent field goal clip (15-of-62) would doom the home team, and the Bulldogs continued to struggle from long range, finishing the game just 2-of-15 (.133) from beyond the arc.

FDU did not shoot significantly better, but the Knights' 32.1 percent mark from the field (17-of-53) was more than enough to propel them past the Bulldogs. The visitors managed a 2-of-11 mark from long range (.182), but the Knights thrived from the line, knocking down 18-of-21 from the charity stripe (.857).

Bryant led for most of the first half, but the Knights forced the Bulldogs to commit 19 turnovers in a slow-paced, physical game in which both teams combined for 36 personal fouls. Only two field goals were scored in the first 4:42 minutes of regulation – both by the Bulldogs – indicative of the physical game that lay ahead.

After Bryant took a six-point lead (20-14) with 6:23 left in the frame, FDU would continue to chip away until overtaking the home team on a jumper by Laury with 40 seconds remaining in the half. The Preseason All-NEC Team member capped a three-point play by nailing a free throw to send the Knights into the locker room ahead by a 29-27 margin.

Just like in the opening minutes of the first frame, the action unfolded slowly and was marked by plenty of missed opportunities by both teams, as both FDU and Bryant combined for three baskets in the first five mintues of the second half.

With the game tied at 31-31 with 15:26 remaining, however, the Knights embarked on an 11-4 run to take a seven-point lead with 6:45 to go, capped by a Laury three-pointer to push the score to 42-35 in favor of the visitors.

The Bulldogs would trim the lead to four on a layup by Douglas with 4:52 remaining, but FDU answered with seven straight points to put the game out of reach, as the Knights went ahead, 51-40, with 2:25 to play. The closest the Bulldogs would come the rest of the way would be nine with less than a minute to go, but by that point the game was out of reach.

Bryant hits the road on Super Bowl weekend, traveling to the New York metropolitan area with a pair of conference battles against St. Francis (NY) and LIU Brooklyn. The Bulldogs battle the Terriers on Saturday (Feb. 4) before squaring off against the Blackbirds on Monday (Feb. 6), with game time set for 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively.

For continuing coverage of Bryant University women's basketball, check back at www.bryantbulldogs.com; be sure to follow the Bulldogs on Twitter @BryantAthletics.

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