Stamolamprou leads Robert Morris women to NEC title 65-52

MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. (AP) -- Anna Niki Stamolamprou scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead Robert Morris to its third straight NCAA Tournament with a 65-52 win over Bryant in the championship game of the Northeast Conference Tournament on Sunday.

Rebeca Navarro added 12 points and Megan Smith had 11 with six assists for the top-seeded Colonials (22-10), who won their fifth straight since a loss to Bryant.

Kierra Palmer had 16 points and Naomi Ashley 14 with nine rebounds for the fourth-seeded Bulldogs (18-12), who had won eight straight, including a 62-59 overtime win over Robert Morris.

The Colonials outscored Bryant 15-4 in the second quarter and led 33-15 at the half. Midway through the first quarter, Stamolamprou hit a jumper to start a 12-0 run and capped the surge with a layup in the final minute to make it 18-7.

Bryant started a 7-0 run late in the first quarter, which included a banked-in 3 from midcourt at the buzzer by Palmer, but the Bulldogs didn't score for the final 7:18 of the half and the Colonials reeled off the last 12 points to lead by 17.

Robert Morris made 13 of 27 shots in the first half while Bryant was 7 of 26 with 11 turnovers and did not get to the line.

Stamolamprou scored the first five points of the third quarter on a layup and 3-pointer, pushing the lead to 22 but Palmer scored five points in a late 7-0 spurt for the Bulldogs, who still trailed by 17 entering the fourth quarter.

Palmer had five points in a 12-3 Bryant run that cut the margin to 51-43 with four minutes to play but the Colonials regained control with a 3-point play by Mikalah Mulrain and two free throws from Stamolamprou.

BIG PICTURE

Bryant: The Bulldogs had never reached an NEC final before knocking off second-seeded Sacred Heart 75-68 for their first semifinal victory, avenging two regular-season losses. ... Bryant ended up at 31 percent for the game (19 of 62), going 3 of 17 behind the arc. In two previous tournament games, they were 15 of 28 from distance. ... Ashley and Morgan Olander, who had 11 points, made the all-tournament team.

Robert Morris: The Colonials keep rolling with first-year head coach Charlie Buscaglia. However, he is in his 14th year with the program. ... Stamolamprou was the tournament MVP for the second straight season. ... Smith, who returned from taking a hard fall midway through the fourth quarter, made the all-tournament team. ... The Colonials were in the title game for the fourth straight year. Robert Morris finished 7 of 15 behind the arc, shooting 21 of 47 (45 percent) overall. ... Mulrain had four rebounds, four blocks and three steals to go with her five points.

CLOSING DOWN

This was the final game played at the Charles L. Sewall Center, referred to as "The Chuck," which served as the Colonials' home since the fall of 1985. Robert Morris' future home, the UPMC Events Center, is slated to open in January of 2019. The women will play in another on-campus site and the men will go to the PPG Paints Arena in downtown Pittsburgh.

UP NEXT

Robert Morris learns its NCAA destination Monday night.