After a hard-fought battle against arch nemesis William Paterson University (WPU), the women’s basketball team earned a well-deserved 69-65 victory over the Pioneers.
Hillary Klimowicz was the star of the game once again, as she set a College record by posting 35 points in a single game. She also grabbed a career-high 22 rebounds in the contest and notched six blocked shots.
Klimowicz’s double-double was the 34th of her career, and she now stands at 11th on the school’s all-time scoring list.
With the star center’s help, the Lions took a comfortable 35-23 lead into the break, but the Pioneers opened the second half on a 12-4 run, threatening to pull off a surprising comeback.
The Pioneer surge continued until the midway pont of the second half as the Lions trailed by as much as six. But things turned around after senior guard Alyssa Michella drained a shot from beyond the arc, igniting a 13-4 Lions run to close out the contest.
“There was nothing better than the feeling at the end of the game when we won,” sophomore forward Kelsey Kutch said. “It was a team victory.”
The Lions’ defense played a major role in back-and-forth battle with the Pioneers. By forcing 13 turnovers against the quick WPU offense, the Lions were able to control the clock and deny their conference foes pivotal scoring chances down the stretch.
“Overall it was a great team effort and we fought it out,” Klimowicz said.
The Lions had a much easier time handling Rutgers University-Camden, as they dominated the outmatched Scarlet Raptors en route to a 85-46 victory.
After going up 12-0 in the first two minutes of action, the Lions’ high-powered offense propeled them to 53-25 advantage at halftime. From there, the Lions never lost their edge.
In the winning effort, Kutch had a career game, recording 23 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Rookie guard Hannah Tait also had a breakout performance, as she notched a career-high 13 points.
After this hard-earned triumph, the Lions improved their overall record to 14-3 while the Pioneers dropped to 14-5 on the campaign. Both teams are tied with a 6-1 record in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC). The loss by the Pioneers also snaps their five-game winning streak.
“Having a 14-3 record so far is great, but our goal is to be undefeated in January and we still have a lot of work to do with Kean coming up,” junior guard Karen Lassoni said. “The most important thing is to take each practice and game one step at a time.”
The Lions return to action in arguably one of the biggest games of the season, as they are on the road tonight against the team they lost to in the 2008 New Jersey Athletic Conference Championship (NJAC), the Cougars of Kean University. Tip off is slated for 6 p.m.