College uses late push to earn playoff berth; Scarlet Raiders send the Lions home in first round

Senior Alex Gregorek posting up. (Tom O’Dell / Photo Editor)

The College’s women’s basketball team finished this past season with an overall record of 14-11. This record was a modest improvement from their 13-12 record last year. The improved record allowed the team to earn a playoff berth in the NJAC playoffs, but it fell short to Rutgers University-Newark in the first round.

“We never gave up and we all worked very hard which showed when we made the playoffs,” junior guard Hannah Tait said. “Although we didn’t go all the way or win the championship, I think we grew as people and players and learned a lot this season, which was very successful.”

One of the biggest wins of the season for the team was the game against Kean University on Feb. 2. The Lions pulled a huge upset against the No. 2-ranked Cougars. The win was crucial because it kept the Lions’ playoff pursuit alive, but more importantly the Lions proved a lot about how they play basketball. The team showed a lot of character and teamwork to pull off a victory against one of the best teams in the nation.

“That win set the tone for our final five games,” Tait said. “We were able to win four of our last five games of the season and we were able to make the NJAC tournament. It kept our spirits high and proved to us that we were able to play with any team.”

The end of the season also marks the end of senior Alex Gregorek’s career for the Lions. Gregorek finished the season with 11.8 points per game and 7.4 rebounds per game. Gregorek battled back from a major knee injury to ultimately finish her outstanding career with 1,039 points (13th all time), and 662 rebounds (sixth all time).

“Alex has had a huge impact on our program for five years,” head coach Dawn Henderson said. “She has grown as a basketball player and a leader. We will miss her on the

Sophomore Candace Vigo drives toward the hoop and past her defender. (Tom O’Dell / Photo Editor)

court, points, rebounds, focus and defensively, but we will also miss all the intangibles she brings off the court.”

The team will also say goodbye to seniors Stephanie Prall, Jamie Cresbaugh, Keri Washington, Nicole Diaz and Kelsey Kutch.

With the six seniors departing, the Lions will bring back their second and third leading scorers in juniors Jessica Imhof and Tait.

The rising seniors hope to carry a similar baton of success as the former seniors did this past season.

They’ll look to form a formidable one-two punch in the Lions’ offense as both have averaged a combined 19 points per game this past season.

“I think that many of the players have improved over the season,” Henderson said. “If I had to pick one, I’d say Jess Imhof. She has had a lot more playing time this season and has used it wisely. She has developed into a scorer for us. She can shoot the three or pull up off the dribble and she certainly had an impact on our late season run.”

With that said, the Lions’ outlook on next season is positive.

The veteran leadership of Henderson, and all of the rising seniors will certainly help the Lions continue their trend of ending the season with an improved record.

Nothing short of the best is expected from this Lions’ program, considering that they were able to win 28 games just three seasons ago.

“Our expectations are always high,” Henderson said. “We hope to get back into that NJAC final and earn another berth in the NCAA tournament.”