All-American Easter Faafiti sets new career highs as Gallaudet bounces back
MORRISTOWN, N.J. – It didn't take long for the Gallaudet University women's basketball team to find the win column after suffering its first loss of the year last Saturday. The unranked Bison bounced back with a big 76-59 road victory over North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) foe College of St. Elizabeth on Tuesday night.
The win gives the Bison (21-1, 18-1 NEAC) the second most wins for a season in program history. GU is 10-0 on the road this season.
All-American Easter Faafiti (Pittsburg, Calif.) had a career game as she set new career-high totals for points (36), rebounds (25) and tied her career best for assists (six). Her assists and steals (four) all came in the second half where the forward/center scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Faafiti records her 15th straight double-double, 17th overall this season and 33rd in her two-year career with the Bison. The 36 points scored in a game is a new conference high for an individual this year.
The outcome was not a given Tuesday considering the Bison trailed 33-27 at halftime. This was the second straight game the Bison trailed at intermission. St. Elizabeth (10-13, 10-10) was on fire from 3-point range in the first half as it made 6-of-8 shots. The Eagles didn't make another 3-pointer in the game.
GU used several runs in the second half to outscore St. Elizabeth 49-26. The tale of two halves is the most extreme this season for the Bison. The 27 first-half points is the second lowest this season for the Buff and Blue. The second-half point total of 49 is the second highest this season. The 17-point margin of victory is the best in a month.
Just as impressive on Tuesday was Gallaudet's defense on senior Maesoon Deeb, the third leading scorer and rebounder in the NEAC behind Wells College forward Ashley Roser and Faafiti. Deeb was held to a season low four points and six rebounds in 25 minutes. Deeb entered the game averaging 17.5 points and 12.1 rebounds per game. Deeb only lasted five minutes in the first half because of foul trouble.
Freshman guard Stephanie Weiss (Wellington, Fla.) matched her career-high with 15 points and four rebounds for the Bison. Weiss also drastically cut down on her turnovers after a disastrous game against Penn St.-Harrisburg. Senior center Nukeitra Hayes (Anderson, Ind.) added six points and nine rebounds while freshman Tandy Lewis (Frederick, Md.) made her fifth start and scored seven points and grabbed seven rebounds.
St. Elizabeth's Sabrina Jarmolinski led the scoring for the Eagles with 21 points and five rebounds while Anastasia Feola netted 13 points in the loss.
Gallaudet dominated the paint as it outscored St. Elizabeth 50-20. The Bison also scored 29 second chance points to the two points by the Eagles. St. Elizabeth did score 20 points off 18 Gallaudet turnovers. The GU bench doubled up the St. Elizabeth bench, 8-4.The Bison sweep the season series as they won 65-53 a month ago (January 12).
The Bison surpassed 1,500 points, 1,000 rebounds, 350 assists and 300 steals for the season in Tuesday's win.
The Bison will make their final regular-season road trip on Thursday, February 17, to face Penn St.-Abington (6-16, 5-14) in a 5:30 p.m. conference game.