After opening loss, Lions cruise with tough defense

The College’s women’s basketball team ended a solid week of play with a crucial 78-52 victory over Rowan University in a New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) game.

Senior guard Tiara Simpkins dropped a career-high 21 points in the winning effort over Rowan, surpassing her previous best of 20 points. Simpkins managed to shoot an astounding 80 percent (4-for-5) from beyond the arc, while also adding a game-high four steals.

The victory, along with Sunday’s 68-38 win over Cazenovia College, boosted the Lions’ record to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in the NJAC, with the sole blemish on their record coming from a 45-35 loss against Capital University in the season opener.

Senior captain Erin Frank also contributed heavily to the conference victory, as she shot 7-10 from the field, totaling in 14 points, while pulling down nine boards.

The Lions controlled the flow of the game with their stifling defense, as they managed to hold the Profs to an abysmal 31 percent (17-55) from the field. The Lions, on the other hand, worked the perimeter effectively, shooting 40 percent from downtown, as they fed the hot hands of Simpkins and senior guard Alexa Shields.

Junior guard Megan Hueter spoke about the Lions’ stunning defensive performance against Rowan saying, “We have been working hard since day one to be in condition to perfect our team defense. Our defense is going to really help us pull through and take over some games this year.”

Simpkins went on to say it was vindicating after the Capital game to beat Rowan like they did, but said, “We can’t be satisfied with just beating Rowan because, this year, they’re not the team to beat.” When asked who, in her mind, was the team to beat, she said Richard Stockton College. The College faces Stockton at home tonight at 6 p.m.

The Lions’ loss against nationally ranked Capital in the opening round of the Betty Abgott Invitational tournament was competitive, despite the Lions falling behind 24-12 at halftime. The College outscored No. 7 Capital 23-21 in the second half, yet the first half deficit was too much to overcome, as Capital never let the College within five points.

Crusader senior guards Kati Todd and Sara Heitkamp plagued the Lions with their shooting, putting up 14 and 12 points, respectively. Todd shot over 40 percent from three-point range with Heitkamp delivering a complete game, hitting five of nine from the field, as well as grabbing a game-high seven steals and dishing out seven assists.

Despite the season opening loss against the Crusaders, the Lions managed to pull off a decisive 68-38 win over the Cazenovia Wildcats in the consolation game at the invitational.

The Lions fell behind early, trailing 11-10, but proved their worth as they fought back and held a 15-point halftime lead over the Wildcats. The Lions were led by Frank and Simpkins who, coming off a bad game against Capital in which she shot 1-for-13 overall, again led the team in points and steals.

Frank shot 6-for-6 from the free throw line and tallied up 10 total points as well as eight rebounds.

Simpkins said head coach Dawn Henderson spoke to her after the Capital game, saying two points weren’t going to cut it and that she needed to be more offensive-minded.

Frank also grabbed All-Tournament Honors for her efforts in the Invitational. “I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Frank said. “I didn’t feel as though I played (well enough) to deserve anything.” The judges obviously felt differently, as Frank was the only Lion to earn the honor.