By Miguel Gonzalez
The women’s basketball team found themselves at both ends of the scoreboard this week. The Lions were outmatched at Stockton University, losing 68-45, on Jan. 24. The team then dismantled New Jersey City University on the road by a score of 95-32 on Saturday, Jan. 27.
Heading to Galloway, New Jersey, the Lions got into a back-and-forth battle against Stockton. Senior guard Charlotte Schum scored the team’s first basket when she grabbed a rebound and scored a layup. Stockton responded with two back-to-back free throw completions to tie the score.
Both teams then spent the first quarter trading buckets. In the ninth minute, sophomore forward Jen Byrne drained a jumper to put the Lions behind one point, 16-15. As the first quarter ended, Stockton freshman guard Hailee Porricelli scored a deep three-pointer to protect Stockton’s lead.
In the second quarter, the Lions couldn’t handle Stockton’s solid defense. Consequently, Stockton’s offense flourished and trampled the Lions to a 30-16 deficit by minute 15. Junior Nicole Shatsky attempted to spark a rally when she drained a three-pointer in the next play.
Stockton then overwhelmed the Lions when they scored seven points from the free throw line, followed by several layups and mid-range jumpers. With the Lions in a deep 41-22 deficit at halftime, Stockton took full control of the match and eventually defeated the Lions, 68-45.
Head coach Chessie Jackson says the team is working hard to calibrate the offense and beat defensive opponents like Stockton.
“Stockton is a talented and athletic team with great size,” Jackson said. “They’ve got great size and rebound the ball well. Our team has been getting good looks against tough defensive teams, so it’s a matter of mentally preparing to be scorers in other ways. Attack the rim more, grab (offensive) boards, more post touches. We are adapting while also working hard to improve our shooting percentage.”
After the tough loss, the Lions returned to Packer Hall on Saturday, Jan. 27 and smashed NJCU. The second the clock started, the Lions offense was nothing but dominant.
The team jumped to a 21-0 lead before NJCU scored its first point in the first quarter. Junior guard Kate O’Leary scored the Lions first points off a three-pointer in the first minute. Freshman Shannon Devitt then scored two consecutive layups. From there, the Lions offense took over and handily defeated NJCU by more than 60 points, 95-32. During the game, Byrne led the Lions offense with 23 points followed by Devitt, adding 18 of her own.
Although the Lions went all-out on offense, Jackson is focused on improving defense and consistency.
“We are aiming to become more consistent defenders through 40 minutes of play,” Jackson said. “As well as improve our shooting percentage. We have performed well in a number of statistical categories this season, but consistency is key in order to remain competitive down the stretch.”
Women’s basketball heads north to Mahwah, New Jersey for a conference match against Ramapo College on Saturday, Feb. 3.