Before Saturday’s 65-60 loss to Rowan University, a sophomore on the College’s women’s basketball team asked head coach Dawn Henderson if the College had ever lost to its New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) rival, the Profs.
Henderson, who is in her 15th season as head coach of the Lions and recently tallied her 250th victory, thought her young player’s question was ironic, because according to the head coach, “They used to beat up on us.” In Henderson’s early coaching years with the Lions, the Profs were the team to beat.
But in recent seasons, the Lions have dominated the court when it has come to facing the team from Glassboro, NJ. Going into last week, the Lions had won seven straight against the Profs, a streak that dated back to the 1999-2000 season, before any of the team’s current players ever ran the court in a Lions’ uniform.
“We havn’t lost to them since I’ve been here,” senior center Adrienne Warner said.
The Profs broke a long-running streak of losing to the Lions at home on Saturday. “(The Profs) have been playing well this year. We knew that going into the game,” Henderson said. Rowan now stands at 7-1 in conference play, and sits at the top of the Gold Division.
With the loss, the College, picked as an early season NJAC favorite, fell to 6-2 in the conference. The Lions remain tied with Montclair State University for first place in the Blue Division.
“We played well, we just didn’t come out with a victory,” sophomore guard Deana Cuozzo said.
Rowan entered the locker room with a one-point advantage at the break. The lead shuffled hands 12 times in the second half before the Profs took the lead for good with a little over 14 minutes left in the game.
In a 12-point hole with 4:21 remaining on the clock, freshman Megan Hueter sparked a 10-point Lions run. Hueter scored five of her total 10 points during the spurt that cut the Prof lead to two.
“We were playing good defense and we got energized,” Henderson said.
The Profs halted the Lions comeback by sinking 6-of-6 from the foul line as the clock wound down to the final four seconds. Cuozzo hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer, but her shot wasn’t enough to keep the College’s winning streak against Rowan alive.
Rowan junior center Samantha Eskuchen tied her career high scoring mark, by tallying 21 points in the victory. She also grabbed six boards.
High scorers for the College included Cuozzo, who led the Lions with 13 points on the day. Senior forward and co-captain Laura Mala chipped in 10 points for the Lions and junior co-captain Theresa DiMedio added eight boards.
Earlier in the week, sophomore guard Tiara Simpkins, guided the College to a 77-60 victory over Mount Saint Mary College. Simpkons matched her career high, posting 20 points in the win, which snapped Mount Saint Mary’s six game winning streak.
“We played a good game against a good team,” Henderson said. “It was an important non-conference game for us.”
The Lions shot a season best 61.4 percent (27-44) from the floor, and their defense held the Blue Nights to a 3-for-15 shooting performance from behind the arc.
“The win showed us how good we are, and helped us realize our potential,” Mala said.
Cuozzo came off the bench to shoot a flawless 7-7, adding 18 points for the Lions. Warner had 14 points.
The Lions will try to improve their conference record when they take on William Paterson University on Saturday at 3 p.m. in Packer Hall.