Women’s basketball gets the ball rolling despite injuries

Women’s basketball scores nearly 76 points per game. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

After dropping its home opener to Moravian College and falling to 1-2 on the season, the women’s basketball team managed to rattle off two straight victories against William Paterson University and Richard Stockton College to move over .500 heading into Thanksgiving break.

The Lions (3-2, 2-0) are averaging nearly 76 points a game this year and have been outscoring opponents by more than eight points an outing.

While head coach Dawn Henderson is happy her team’s offense is scoring, she expects to see more consistency on the defensive end.

“Defensively, we need to be better,” Henderson said. “It’s awesome that we’re scoring all these points, but we have to get back to basics. Moravian is a great team. It’s always a battle when we face them, but we can’t be giving up 86 points.”

Sometimes, a good defense can be a team’s best offense. But while the Lions have only failed to score 79 points once this year, improvements on the defensive end can only help in the long run, reducing the burden of responsibility on the offense to win games by shooting the lights out.

However, an efficient offense did return the Lions to the win column against William Paterson for an important victory. Having suffered one- and five-point losses already, the Lions had yet to win a truly close game.

“Beating William Paterson was a big confidence-boosting win for us,” Henderson said. “We are a really resilient, hardworking team, and that would have been a really tough one to lose.”

In the Lions’ most recent game, they were able to hold Stockton to just 60 points, while scoring 89 points on 56 percent shooting from the field.

Both of these season highs came despite multiple injury issues. Among them was junior guard Kylie O’Donnell being limited by an ankle injury and junior forward Jessica Goldbach missing the game with a concussion.

“Defensively, we need to make it our goal to hold teams to 60 points,” Henderson said. “We need to do a better job rebounding, but this was a step in the right direction.”

Of those who stepped up in the Lions’ most lopsided win of the year, senior guards Tiffany DeTulio and Kelly Roddy really stood out, posting a combined 38 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and four steals, while shooting over 63 percent from the field.

“We’re a really balanced team, and we’re just playing team basketball,” O’Donnell said. “I think the biggest thing is Coach is always reminding us to have fun out there. When we have fun, we stay loose, and that’s when we’re at our best.”

With key Lions dealing with injuries, the four-day Thanksgiving break couldn’t have come at a better time for the team.

“We had a lot of help from the training staff before we left, and we will continue to work with them when we get back,” O’Donnell said.

After enjoying Thanksgiving break, Henderson and the Lions are looking forward to getting back to basics this coming week.

The Lions return to action on Wednesday, Dec. 4, as they host Kean University in Packer Hall.