By Malcolm Luck
In large part due to the Lions’ current six-game winning streak, the women’s basketball team has earned itself a first-round bye in the upcoming New Jersey Athletic Conference tournament.
Following last week’s play, the College’s conference record sits at 14-3 on the season, more than two games better than the team in second place, Montclair State University. With only one game remaining in the regular season, the Lions are poised and prepared for a deep playoff run.
The Lions began their week on Feb. 6 with a win against the NJAC’s basement dweller, New Jersey City University. After trading buckets with NJCU in the early part of the first quarter, a lay up from sophomore forward Shannon Devitt with 6:10 remaining gave the Lions a lead that they would hold for the rest of the game.
Senior guard Sam Famulare drained a three-pointer less than two minutes later to ignite a 12-0 run. After two consecutive Lions’ turnovers, junior forward Jen Byrne drilled a three of her own and laid in two more buckets to close out the quarter with the College ahead 22-13.
A shot from beyond the arc off the fingertips of junior guard Lauren Barlow put her team ahead by 14 with 8:43 remaining in the second quarter. However, a late run from NJCU cut into the Lions’ lead, as last second mid-range jumper beat the buzzer and sent both teams to the locker room with the Lions on top 35-29.
The College used the third quarter to extend its lead to as many as 13 points. Devitt scored the first bucket off a fast break jumper to put the Lions ahead by eight.
Following an NJCU layup, Famulare sank her fourth of five three-point baskets to extend the Lions’ lead to nine. Free throws from senior guard Kate O’Leary and a bucket in the paint from Devitt tacked on four more points and stretched the lead to 13 with 5:47.
By the time the quarter’s buzzer sounded, NJCU had dug a deep 12-point deficit that ultimately led to the program’s 21st consecutive loss against the Lions as the scoreboard’s final tally read 69-54.
Senior Day on Saturday, Feb. 9 against Kean University proved to be no match for the Lions as well.
Offensively, the team exploded in the first half, beginning with an early bucket from Devitt to put the game’s first points on the board. Back-to-back threes from senior guard Nicole Shatsky and junior guard Cailey Gibson gave the squad a nine-point lead with 4:03 to play.
A lay up from Devitt and a jump shot from Famulare contributed to the Lions’ ultimate 12-0 point run. Gibson buried another three-pointer for good measure to put the College ahead by 10 at the end of the first quarter.
The third quarter yielded similar results. Early points from Byrne and Devitt extended the lead to 15 followed by another three-pointer from Famulare after a Kean layup. At the half, the seniors found themselves up 20 in their second to last regular season home game.
Despite being outscored in the third and fourth quarters, the Lions won by a final score of 73-64.
The team’s last regular season game will be held at home tonight at 6:00 p.m. against William Paterson University.