The Lions split this week with a win and a loss that put them in a tie for sixth in the New Jersey Athletic Conference.
A win on Wednesday, Feb. 1 against Rowan University put the Lions in a three-way tie with Rowan and Rutgers University-Camden for one of the final two spots in the NJAC playoffs.
On Wednesday evening, the Lions pulled out a win in the final quarter of the game using an eight point run to win the game, 56-53.
It was another close game that went down to the final moments. On Rowan’s final possession, junior forward Nikki Schott helped seal the Lions victory with clutch defense by first blocking one three-point attempt and then contesting the next.
“We’ve had some great wins and some close losses,” said head coach Dawn Henderson. “It is truly the balance of the whole game that will determine the outcome. I always tell the team that you never know which basket, assist, defensive stop, made free throw or missed rebound will be the one that determines the outcome of the game. We need to play together for 40 minutes, when we do, we are capable of beating anyone!”
During the game, junior forward Chiara Palombi and junior guard Charlotte Schum led the way on the offensive side of the ball, with each of them scoring 13 points.
Later on Saturday afternoon, the Lions faced the Ramapo College Roadrunners in a 47-42 loss.
The Lions fell quickly in the beginning as the Roadrunners sprinted to a 6-0 lead. Roadrunners’ freshman forward Jenna Harsh and sophomore forward Tia Solomon scored on jumpers.
A sloppy shooting performance for both teams in the first half turned into a closely contested match for the entirety of the game, until the Roadrunners took control in the final minute.
The speedy Roadrunners quickly controlled the hardwood in the third quarter. At the 22nd minute, Solomon stole the ball from junior forward Chiara Palombi and leaped in for a layup.
Junior Jina Crawford mimicked Palombi’s layup when she caught a fastbreak and scored two points with no opposition.
Sophomore guard Nicole Shatsky responded to the Roadrunners’ attack. She grabbed a pass from O’Leary and hurled in a three-pointer. Shatsky’s three ignited the dormant Lions offense.
Soon, freshman guard/forward Christine Woods scored on a jumper shot, putting the Lions ahead 34-32.
The fourth quarter turned into a back and forth affair until the Roadrunners clamped the Lions offense and ran away from Packer Hall with a 47-42 win.
Chiara Palombi led the Lions in scoring with ten points. She also grabbed eight boards in the loss. Before the game, Henderson and the rest of the team celebrated their two senior players, guard Kim Dana and forward Katy Amato.
“Kim and Katy are hard workers who lead by example for our team,” said Henderson “I am especially proud of their work off the court in the classroom. Both are outstanding student-athletes.”
With the season coming to a close, the Lions only have three more games to grab a spot in the conference playoffs.
The Lions head out on the road for both games this week. On Wednesday, Feb. 8, they will play William Paterson University. A win for TCNJ would put the two teams in a tie. Then on Saturday, Feb. 11, the Lions face off against Montclair State University, who are currently ranked first in the NJAC.