Michael Costeines — Special to Southern News
The 22nd-ranked Owls soared passed the Le Moyne College Dolphins 81-52 for their 20th win of the season. The win also held extra special importance for the team and fans as during pre-game the Owls honored their three seniors on Senior Night.
The Owls finished the game with five players in double figures, including a trio of 16-point scorers: Sophomore Moni Smith-Ocran, Junior Camille Fantini and Senior Sylvonya Moore. Smith-Ocran added team-high 12 rebounds for her eighth double-double of the season.
“We have two more games left in the season but this was a strong win, especially for our seniors on their night,” said Smith-Ocran. “Our thing is to continue to get better day by day and improve toward the conference playoffs.”
The Owls used the rousing pre-game tribute from fans to jump out to a 22-6 lead through the first seven minutes. The lead was as many as 22 and the Owls stayed in cruise control for much of the half, shooting 59 percent and holding a 43-22 lead at the break.
“I was very excited and was looking forward to this day from the beginning,” said senior Alex Fiola. “My four years had a lot of ups and downs but this year has been most successful.”
Fiola was reluctant to get emotional and buoyed her feelings around a stellar first half. Fiola scored 11 points, including three-of-four shooting from behind the arc. The sharp-shooting senior helped the Owls connect on seven 3-pointers in the half.
“My parents and family came from Massachusetts, as well as my friends from school were at the game so I was trying not to get too emotional,” said Fiola. “I just did not want to cry before the game started but the support was very nice.”
Much like the beginning of the game, the Owls came out in the second half on an 11-3 run to balloon the lead to 31 points with 16 minutes to play in the second half. After a moderate Dolphin rally, the Owls closed out the game on a 13-3 run
Joining Fiola and Moore for there last regular season home game, Lauren Allen ran the offense at guard, pitching in with six rebounds and four assists.
The Owls also dominated the game defensively, a common theme for many games the entire season. The Dolphins committed 26 turnovers for the game, and the Owls took advantage with 33 points of those turnovers. The Dolphins also shot just 33 percent for the game.
With the win, the Owls guaranteed at least one more home game in the conference playoffs for Fiola, Moore, Allen and the rest of the team.
“I am very proud of our seniors and they are defiantly going to be missed,” said Smith-Ocran. “They mean a lot to our team, no doubt.”