Knights and Raiders slay falling Lions

The College’s women’s basketball team went 0-2 on the road this week, falling to Mount St. Mary College and Rutgers University-Newark. The Lions’ record dropped to 8-11 overall and 3-5 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC).

The Lions lost an away game to Mount St. Mary on Wednesday by a score of 67-57. It was a tale of two halves defensively for the Lions. They played well in the first half, taking a 31-30 lead into halftime while holding the Blue Knights to just 37.9 percent shooting from the floor.

“In the second half, Mount St. Mary’s had a lot of open looks in the paint,” head coach Dawn Henderson said. “They ran a little play against our zone and we didn’t adjust to it very well.”

The Lions allowed the Blue Knights to shoot 51.9 percent from the floor in the second half and outscore the Lions 37-26. The Blue Knights had four players score in double figures, led by junior forward Jackie Markert’s 10 points and 10 rebounds.

“We didn’t capitalize on their mistakes when we had the opportunities,” Henderson said. “They seemed to score every time we made a mistake.”

Junior guard Sara Best led the way for the Lions with 12 points, five rebounds and two steals. Senior forward Breanne Dempken added eight points and eight rebounds for the Lions, while sophomore center Hillary Klimowicz, freshman center Alexandra Gregorek and sophomore guard Alyssa Michella each chipped in seven points.

On Saturday, the Lions fell on the road 59-48 to the Scarlet Raiders of Rutgers-Newark.

Henderson outlined the goals for the team going into the game.

“We need to play intense half-court defense, limit our opponents to one shot, take care of the ball on offense (and) convert layups and free throws,” Henderson said.

The Scarlet Raiders began the game with a 24-8 opening run led by junior forward Toni Roselli. During the run, Roselli converted four straight three-point attempts. She would finish with a team-high 15 points, shooting 5-for-6 from behind the three-point line.

The Lions responded with scoring from five different players to creep their way to a 26-19 halftime deficit.

The Scarlet Raiders improved their shooting from 36.4 percent in the first half to 52.9 percent in the second half.

The Lions would not rebound from a 15-2 early second half run by the Scarlet Raiders that gave them a 41-26 lead with 14:50 remaining. The College would trail by as little as nine points until the final buzzer.

The Lions barely out-rebounded the Scarlet Raiders 35-34 and committed fewer turnovers (21-17). The College shot only 6-for-11 from the free-throw line and 2-for-17 from behind the arc.

The poor three-point shooting led to a 33.9 shooting percentage for the game.

Klimowicz tallied a team-high 14 points in the losing effort. She also added seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

Best was the only other Lions player to score in double figures with 10 points in the contest.

The loss to Rutgers-Newark marked the first time opposing head coach Kevin Morris was able to pull out a win against Henderson. Morris had previously dropped the last 11 meetings between the coaches.

“We’re struggling right now,” freshman guard Erin Drulis said. “We are trying to pull everything together to get into the NJAC tournament at the end of the season.”

The Lions visit Kean University tonight at 6 p.m. and host Ramapo College on Saturday at 1 p.m.