Lions defeat Cougars with second-half surge

The College’s women’s basketball team notched two conference victories last week, including a huge second-half comeback to defeat rival Kean University on Saturday.

The Lions posted a 68-62 come-from-behind win over the visiting Cougars when they overcame a 19-point halftime deficit to clinch the victory.

The first half saw four lead changes and two ties. With the game knotted at 19 and 8:22 remaining in the period, the Cougars strung together a 19-0 run to close out the first stanza and hold a 38-19 margin at halftime. Kean’s defense held the Lion’s scoreless for the rest of the half as the Lions missed their next eight field goal attempts and committed eight turnovers.

Senior guard Theresa DiMedio ended the drought for the Lions with a jumper at the 19:43 mark and the Lions began to chip away at the Cougars’ 19-point lead. The Lions tied the game at 45 with 12 minutes left after mounting an impressive 16-7 run behind eight points by DiMedio. Freshman guard Lashelle Harris’ jumper at 2:07 gave Kean a 62-60 lead, but junior center Danica Miller responded with a jumper at the 1:43 mark to tie it up for the fifth time that half.

The Lions scored the final eight points of the game to secure a 68-62 victory and their second New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) win in a row, handing the Cougars their first league loss.

“Our guards are expected to carry the bulk of our scoring this season,” head coach Dawn Henderson said.

On Saturday, Henderson’s guards pulled through for the Lions. The College had four players contribute double-figure scoring. DiMedio scored 16 points for the Lions, junior guard Alexa Shields and Miller each added 14 points and junior guard Tiara Simpkins helped out with 12 points.

Simpkins had personal and game bests with eight assists and six steals, while Miller’s point total was a career-high.

“We are returning our focus to being one of the best defensive teams in the country,” Henderson said. The Lions’ play in the second half of the game exemplified this, shutting down the Cougars.

The Lions’ women’s basketball team marked their first NJAC victory of the season by defeating Richard Stockton College last week. DiMedio scored a game-high 16 points and sophomore guard Megan Hueter contributed 12 to lead the Lions to a 64-51 victory over the Ospreys.

The Lions were quick to score and quick to take a 12-2 lead as the Ospreys missed their first 11 field goal attempts. Freshman guard Michele Auerbacher managed to end Stockton’s drought with a lay-up at 10:26 and soon the Ospreys were back in the game.

With the game tied up and only a minute left in the half, Simpkins drained a three-pointer to give the College a 24-21 lead.

The Ospreys crept close in the second half but could not overtake the Lions. The Ospreys pulled within one with 7:14 left to play, but Hueter responded with consecutive three-pointers to increase the Lions lead to 45-38. The Lions pulled away down the stretch to close out the 64-51 win.

Shields helped out the Lions winning cause with a personal-best of nine rebounds, a season-high of eight points and a game-high of six assists. Junior forward Erin Frank matched her career-high of six rebounds for the third time while dishing out a career-best four assists. Hueter also grabbed a career-high four boards.

For the Ospreys, sophomore forward Alicia Morris paced the team with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore guard Jenna Shenk tossed in three three-pointers and finished with 11 points. Senior forward Takisha Pride grabbed six rebounds to become the Ospreys all-time rebound leader with 659.

The two NJAC wins improved the Lions’ record to 3-2 on the year and 2-1 in the conference. The Lions will travel to Rutgers University-Camden for another conference tilt today at 6 p.m.