In what was a heartbreaking loss, the Lions fell 55-39 to William Paterson University in the NJAC tournament, but it was a well-fought game. This concluded the College’s season, but left the team with something they could be proud of.
The game began with both teams displaying excellent defense, allowing very minimal scoring and making it hard to get any numbers on the board at all. The Lions were able to break through their opponents’ defense as
junior guards Tiffany DeTulio and Kelly Roddy each scored, making the game 6-3.
However, the Pioneers dominated in an 11-0 run, advancing their score and beginning to run away with the game. At the half, the Pioneers were leading 20-12. The Lions were hopeful they could turn it around in the second half.
“I thought it was a great defensive game for each team being that the score at halftime was only 20-12,” DeTulio said.
The second half was quickly taken over by the Pioneers again as they scored another 11 points against the Lions. Despite relentless hustle and determination, the Lions were not able to beat their opponents’ defense and get many points on the board.
The Lions refused to go quietly, however. With 6:58 left in the game, they went on a 13-0 run led by DeTulio. They closed the gap to 55-39, but ran out of time as the buzzer sounded.
DeTulio showcased her talent as she led the team with a total of 17 points with five steals and four rebounds.
The loss to William Paterson unfortunately marks the end of the College’s season, as they missed out on getting an at-large bid for the NCAA Division III tournament when the field was released on Monday, Feb. 25. William Paterson, as well as NJAC champion Montclair State University both got bids, one at-large and one automatic.
With the talent and record that the Lions had, they were likely one of the last teams left out of the field of 64.
Even if the team left the court with heavy hearts, they still look back on the season with positivity and pride, as they should. They cannot look with regret on their performance in any of this season’s games and can only use this as incentive to play harder next year.
“We had a great run this season with this group of girls and I think that we came one step closer to our goal (as NJAC champs) than we did last year,” DeTulio said.
Some members of the team have been recognized for their stellar play this past season. Roddy and DeTulio were both chosen for the All-NJAC Second Team, a high honor for the College.
Roddy had a remarkable season, scoring an average of 8.7 points per game, while DeTulio contributed 8.5 per game. DeTulio made a start in all 26 games of the season. Without either of these players, the Lions could not have fared as well as they did all season.
The team looks forward to some much-deserved downtime, but rest assured, they will be right back to practicing and conditioning in preparation of next season very soon. They have much to be proud for, advancing far into the NJAC tournament and further than the College has in recent years.