How far the Red Flash women have fallen.

The St. Francis University basketball team that dominated the Northeast Conference by winning nine out of 10 tournament championships, including nine trips to the NCAA tournament, may miss the NEC tournament for the second consecutive season.

The Red Flash continued their losing ways Monday night at the Stokes Center, dropping their sixth straight game and their ninth loss in the past 10 with a 77-59 NEC setback to Monmouth.

That leaves the team that once was called a small-college dynasty with a 5-19 record, 2-11 in the NEC.

“I just don’t understand it,” fourth-year coach Jill Poe said about the play of her team. “They are just kids, and my A.D., Bob (Krimmel), says that understanding kids from 18 to 22 (years old) is tough.”

The Red Flash are not mathematically eliminated from NEC competition, but they are now in 10th place and have won only two conference games, albeit against two of the top teams in the NEC.

The Hawks came out and played well early, taking a 12-point lead, 22-10, after Brianne Edwards scored with 11:52 left in the first half.

The Red Flash seldom got the lead under double digits after that point.

The Red Flash had played better at Monmouth, falling by just five points, 76-71.

“We have been really hard on our kids about playing hard for 40 minutes,” Monmouth coach Michele Edwards said. “Our press made a difference early, and that set the tone for the game.”

What mystifies the St. Francis fans is that the team defeated Penn State and two of the top teams in the NEC, Sacred Heart and Quinnipiac, at home.

Poe must get her team together in the final five games, three of which are at home.

St. Francis shot just 37 percent (19-of-51) from the field, while Monmouth hit at a 48 percent (29-of-60) clip. The Hawks had a 43-31 edge in rebounding.

Edwards led Monmouth with 19 points and seven rebounds. St. Francis had three players in double figures, led by senior Christie Ayers with 13. Fellow senior Beth Halter added 12 and freshman Lindsey Stuckey, 11.

St. Francis will travel to Mount St. Mary’s on Saturday.

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