Women’s basketball strengthens hold on first place

The Lions women got back into the win column after recovering from last week’s loss that snapped their 11-game winning streak.

The Lions started off their new winning streak by defeating William Paterson University (WPU) last Monday night at Packer Hall and continued on to defeat Richard Stockton College and Kean University.

The Lions are now leading the conference with a 10-1 record and have an overall record of 15-3.

The game against WPU was intense. It all came down to the end when the Lions managed a 14-5 second-half run to defeat their New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) rival by a score of 62-54.

With the Lions ahead 46-42 and five minutes remaining, senior guard/forward Theresa DiMedio, who added 10 points, converted a three-point play to put the Lions comfortably in front.

Sophomore forward Breanne Depken scored a career-high 15 points to lead the Lions to the victory. Junior guard Alexa Shields added 13 points and junior center Danica Miller scored four points during the decisive 14-5 spurt. Miller finished with 10 points.

“I think we really play for each other, and we play very well together,” Miller said. “We are able to really pull together when we need to.”

WPU sophomore guard Luci Custis posted her second career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds for WPU, while freshman guard Michelle Pellichero added 14 points.

“The Dickinson game really exposed our weaknesses, which helped us get ready for our conference play,” Miller said. “It was a wake up call, and it showed us what we needed to work on. We worked on those things, and that led to the win.”

The Lions held the victory by shooting 50.0 percent from the floor while holding WPU to 28.8 percent shooting.

“We were able to convert some stops on defensive into points on the other end,” junior guard Tiara Simpkins said. “We knew it was an important game, so we went out there and played with all the intensity we had.”

Next on the schedule were the Ospreys of Richard Stockton College on Wednesday at Packer Hall, and the Lions held back a second-half surge to pull out a 64-59 victory.

The Lions started off in the lead and took an 11-point cushion into halftime as they put together a 14-0 run to close out the first half.

In the second stanza, the Lions extended their lead to 15 at the 15:36 mark. However, the Ospreys pulled within four (53-49) with 6:55 remaining on two three-pointers by freshman guard Michelle Auerbacher. The Lions held on, hitting four free throws to seal the win.

“The greatest strength the team has is our chemistry,” Shields said. “We get along very well and mesh extremely well on the court. It can be a weakness at times though, because we are so close that we probably don’t push each other as hard as we should.”

Shields scored a game-high 15 points and matched a season-high six assists, while Simpkins added 10 points.

Auerbacher led the Ospreys with a game-high 15 points off the bench on four three-pointers, while Morris added 13 points and eight rebounds.
On Saturday the Lions roared past Kean University 74-64, proving themselves on the road.

The Lions led by as many as 11 points in the first half before the Cougars closed the half on an 8-0 run to only trail by three points, 31-28.

After freshman forward Chari Cooper’s three-point play cut the Cougar deficit to one point, 32-31, early in the second half, the Lions pushed the lead back to seven points following a three-point play by Depken.

The Cougars pulled back within two before DiMedio knocked down one of her four three-pointers to start a 17-3 run to pull away. The Lions led by as many as 21 points.

“This is the most important part of our season and we have to bring our ‘A’ game every night,” Shields said. “The upcoming games are very important and we can’t take any conference games for granted.”

DiMedio scored 15 points and dished out a season-high eight assists to lead the Lions. Depken finished with 13 points, six rebounds and three steals off the bench, while Shields added 13 points and four assists and Frank finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

For the Cougars, Cooper recorded her second 20-point, 20-rebound game of the season, as she scored 21 points and grabbed 22 rebounds. The nation’s leading rebounder, Cooper notched her 12th double-double of the year and seventh game with at least 20 boards.

“We’re right where we want to be, but we know we can achieve so much more,” Simpkins said.

The Lions will host Rutgers University-Camden tonight in Packer Hall at 6 p.m.