By Rich Cuccagna
The women’s basketball team came out with a win in a fierce contest with the Richard Stockton College Ospreys last Wednesday, Feb. 1, outscoring them 71-65, in Packer Hall.
With this important win, the Lions (14-8 overall, 6-4 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference) now need just one more win in their final three conference games or one loss by Rutgers University-Camden to clinch an NJAC tournament postseason berth.
Senior forward Hannah Tait led the Lions in scoring with 16 points in the contest, while senior guard Jessica Imhof significantly contributed on the defensive end, reeling in a team-high nine rebounds.
The Ospreys (12-9 overall, 4-6 in NJAC play) were led by senior LaTonya Oliver, who put up 28 points and collected 16 rebounds. Both were team-highs for the Ospreys.
The game started off slow, with both teams missing many early shots. The Lions trailed the Ospreys early, but the Ospreys were not able to pull away in scoring. The Lions battled back, taking control of the game early on. At the end of the first half, the Lions had a solid lead, having outscored the Ospreys 31-21.
In the beginning of the second half, the Ospreys began to battle back, bringing the fight to the Lions. To the chagrin of the Lions, the Ospreys closed the scoring gap, making it 33-31, still in the College’s favor. The Lions responded by upping their play in the remainder of the game, which featured numerous offensive turnovers due to intense defensive play.
Although the game had been close at certain points, the Lions were ahead by the final buzzer, winning the contest 71-65. The efforts of Tait, Imhof and others, and the hitting of clutch free-throws (the Lions were 14-of-17 on the day) proved to be the difference in the game.
This vital win brought the Lions one step closer to the NJAC postseason tournament, one of the team’s chief goals.
This past Saturday, the Lions got the last win they needed to assure themselves a spot in the postseason. The Lions (now 15-8 overall, 7-4 in NJAC play) were in NJAC action again against Rowan on the road, defeating their opposition 70-57, sinking a season-high 10 3-pointers on the way to the victory. This win assured them a spot in the NJAC postseason tournament as the second seed and home turf in the first round.