Last season, the Rowan women’s basketball team was eliminated in the first round of the New Jersey Athletic Conference Championship Tournament.
This year’s 21-4 team avoided that opening game by securing a first-round bye via the second overall seed. Rowan is now set to face off against third-seeded Stockton University in the semifinals Tuesday night at home.
“I think we’re taking the same approach we’ve taken all season long. We’re focusing on the opponent that’s right in front of us,” head coach Gabby Lisella said. “This is kind of the rubber game going into it.”
BY THE NUMBERS
The Profs split the season series with the Ospreys, winning 97-89 in overtime back in November 2015 and losing 85-53 in January earlier this year.
In the win, four of Rowan’s starting five scored in double figures. It was in overtime that the Profs took control, shooting 85.7 percent from the field compared to Stockton’s 40 percent.
On Jan. 20, the Ospreys handed then-No. 22 ranked Rowan only its second loss of the season.
In that game, the team shot an uncharacteristically poor 23 percent, including only 10 percent from three-point range.
Lisella said that the biggest thing she took away from that game is that the team has to knock down shots.
“I don’t think we played poorly. We got them to turn it over like we want to do and that was in spite of not scoring. Sometimes it’s a little tough to get your press going when you don’t score,” Lisella said. “I thought we did a lot of good things in that game.”
While the brown and gold struggled to find their shot, Stockton was connecting, hitting 53 percent of its shots, including 40 percent from three. Ospreys junior guard Taylor Christina alone was 7-of-9 from three.
“They’ve got a couple shooters that, if they get streaky, can make a big difference. They’ve got two kids that are over six feet tall that play well together, they’re shot blockers,” Lisella said. “We’ve got to make sure we just stay focused on executing our game and keep them off the boards. Overall we’ve just got to take away some of their strengths.”
For Lisella, being able to win games in the conference tournament would only strengthen Rowan’s case to make the Division III Tournament.
“When you get to tournament weekend, there are a limited number of slots available for the tournament,” Lisella said. “With all the automatic qualifiers, if you win your conference you know you’re in. Obviously we want to put ourselves in the best possible position we can.”
Getting a win Tuesday wouldn’t just give Rowan its 39th win against the Ospreys in program history, it would also keep the team’s conference championship and DIII tournament hopes alive.
Rowan 38-37 record
Last time the teams met in the NJAC tournament…
2004-05 NJAC Championship
Stockton defeated Rowan, 67-57
- Forward Kate Matthews is 46 rebounds away from reaching 1,000 for her career. She already broke that plateau in scoring (1,095 points).
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