Just days after losing their senior captain Karen Lassoni, the College trekked on, picking up a win on the road over New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) rival Ramapo College 68-58 on Saturday.
“It’s nothing different than what we’ve preached to them all year, and that’s ‘get better every day you step on the court,’” Head Coach Dawn Henderson said.
The Roadrunners took an early 6-5 lead, but a field goal from beyond the arc by sophomore guard/forward Hannah Tait gave the Lions the lead, and they never looked back.
Tait had a huge game for the Lions, netting 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Fellow sophomore Jessica Imhof also stepped up big, adding a career-high 17 points of her own, including making three-of-four from downtown.
Leading by as many as 21 points in the contest and by as many as 16 in the second half, the Lions sealed their first conference win on the road this season.
“This was a really big game,” Henderson said. “We’re fighting for playoff spot and we were highly-motivated. Jess hit a lot of baskets and Hannah has been steady for us all year.”
Conversely, things were not as easy within the confines of Packer Hall. The team was soundly defeated by NJAC rival Richard Stockton College 71-64 last Wednesday.
The initial defense of the Lions looked promising at first, not allowing an Osprey bucket until 15:25 left in the first half.
However, the quick and physical Richard Stockton offense ran off a 13-point lead on 60 percent shooting in the opening period. They never gave up that lead.
“We’re not scoring a lot on offense so we rely a lot on defense, and we just didn’t play well on defense,” Henderson said. “We didn’t come out with mindset that we needed to what we needed to do. We dug ourselves in too deep of a hole.”
In the second half, the Lions cut the Osprey lead to four, but due to clutch free throw shooting,
“I always want my team to battle, and I’m proud of them for doing that (in the second half), but a moral victory is not what you’re looking for at this point in the season,” Henderson said. “We really need to spread it out over two halves.”
In the loss, junior guard Stephanie Prall notched a career-high 14 points while Tait added 14 points of her own. Junior forward Kelsey Kutch scored 12 points and pulled down four boards, while Imhof rounded out the Lions in double figures with 10 points.
Despite the defeat, the Lions are still above the .500 mark in the NJAC South Division at 5-4, and 12-9 overall.
“Obviously, I’d feel better with Karen, but I’m very pleased with how we’ve played,” Henderson said. Unfortunately, we go on the road for the next four games, but if we can go 3-1, then I’ll be happy.”
Down the aforementioned stretch when every game matters, the College looks to secure their spot in the postseason with a win tonight at Rowan University at 6 p.m.