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SFU series up next for Bryant

SFU series up next for Bryant

SMITHFIELD, R.I. - It's been nearly five weeks since the Bryant University women's basketball team last took the floor against a team that wasn't wearing the Black and Gold, but the Bulldogs are set to host Saint Francis U in a pair of conference games beginning on Thursday, Jan. 14. Both Thursday and Friday's games will have a 4 p.m. tip and can be streamed on NEC Front Row (Thursday) and ESPN3 (Friday). 

THE PARTICULARS
Opponent: Saint Francis U
Location:
 Chace Athletic Center (Smithfield, R.I.)
Game Time:
 4:00 p.m.
Live Stats:
 Sidearm Stats
Watch Live:
 NEC Front Row (Thursday) | ESPN3 (Friday)
Game Notes:
 Game 7 - Saint Francis U
Social Media: 
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | #AllHeart | #AllHustle | #NECWBB

THE MATCHUP
 
After a series of schedule changes, the Bulldogs welcome Saint Francis U to the Chace Athletic Center on Jan. 14 & 15th for a 4 p.m. tip. Both teams enter the series with an undefeated mark in NEC play as they both look to extend on their current winning streak. 
 
Saint Francis U holds the all-time series record, 13-10, after sweeping the Bulldogs last season both, 63-60, in Smithfield, and, 64-58, in Loretto. Despite holding the series record, the Red Flash struggles at the Chace Athletic Center and has only topped Bryant three times in Smithfield.
 
SCOUTING THE RED FLASH
Saint Francis got the kinks out early in the season when they dropped the first four games of 2020-21 against Michigan State, Penn State, Duquesne, and La Salle. However, the Red Flash bounced back as they look for their seventh-straight win of the season when they come to Smithfield. 
The Red Flash returns Third Team All-NEC selection, Karson Swogger, for her senior season as she leads the team in scoring, assists, and steals. Swogger also leads the conference in assists (52), total points (139), free throw attempts (47), free throws made (40), and minutes played (333:06). The senior has only posted double-figure scoring during the conference schedule, including back-to-back 17-point performances in SFU's sweep of LIU.  Redshirt junior Lili Benzel trails Swogger as second on the team in scoring but is the Red Flash's top three-point shooter as she leads the conference in total three-pointers attempted (72) and made (25). 
 
LAST TIME OUT: ST. FRANCIS BROOKLYN
Bryant swept St. Francis Brooklyn in the first NEC series of the 2020-21 season. In game one, senior Kandis Taylor drained a mid-range jumper off an out-of-bounds play to push the Bulldogs past the Terriers in overtime. The game-winning shot occurred with just two seconds remaining and even landed Taylor a spot on ESPN SportsCenter Top-10 Plays at number nine. The Bulldogs followed the OT thriller with a convincing 78-61triumph. The 2-0 start is the best start to conference play for the Bulldogs since 2015. 
 
Senior Brooke Bjelko was a consistent force for the Black and Gold with back-to-back 19-point performances. Following in the consistency was sophomore Alana Perkins who posted 17 and 19-point games in the series followed by Nicole Gallagher who posted 10 and 20 for her first 20-point game of the season. 
 
NIKKI G
Gallagher earned an NEC Prime Performer nod after posting a season-best 20 points in the second of the two-game series against St. Francis Brooklyn. She topped off the 20-point performance with an added 11 rebounds for her second career double-double. The sophomore also shot an impressive 70% from the field shooting seven-for-ten and five-for-eight from behind the arc. 
 
I WANT KANDY
Kandis Taylor had a career game at Iona on Dec. 4 with a career-high 10 points, nine rebounds, and five steals. She also tied her career-best with 6 assists. The senior point guard followed by showing off her leadership with a game-winner in overtime to help the Bulldogs win in game one over the Terriers. Taylor hit the shot with just two seconds left in OT and the shot was even featured on ESPN's SportsCenter Top-10 plays at number 9. 
 
SENIOR SZN
Brooke Bjelko posts four double-double efforts in just six games to start the season highlighted by a career performance at Iona with a career-high 29 points and 16 rebounds. Bjelko finished the game with an added three blocks on the defensive end. Bjelko was also awarded the first three NEC Player of the Week nods, marking the first Bulldog to earn three-straight in the D1 era. Bjelko averages a double-double with 17.8 ppg and 11.8 rebounds per game. 
 
 
ALANA PERKINS FOR THREE
Sophomore Alana Perkins led Bryant in its season opener against UMass with 12 points off the bench. Perkins netted two threes and aided in Bryant's biggest run of the game (16-2) in the fourth quarter. The sophomore is the only Bulldog to have posted double-figures in all three opening games, and out of six opening games, Perkins tallied double-figures in five. The sophomore has been Bryant's "steady-eddy" coming off the bench averaging 12.5 ppg in an average of 26.8 minutes a night. 
 
BLOCK PARTY
Bjelko tied Bryant's Division I single-game block record with seven in game one of the St. Francis Brooklyn series. Bjelko now sits next to Siamone Bennett '11 who set the record at LIU in 2009. As a team, Bryant finished the game with nine thanks to an added pair of blocks from freshman Mariona Planes Fortuny. The Bulldogs also tied the D1 single-game team block record which was set last season against Albany.