Rowan women’s basketball looks to finish NJAC schedule strong

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Losing two 1,000-point scorers from a group that made the NCAA tournament would usually spell disaster for team, however, the Rowan University women’s basketball team is still finding success.

The team sits at 13-6 on the season with a 7-5 record in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC). The offense hasn’t skipped a beat this year, evident in the 10 wins by double-digit margins.

Head coach Gabby Lisella said that “for the most part” this is where she thought the team would be at this point of the season.

“It’s kind of hard to say when we have as many young players as we do, to perceive the future,” Lisella said. “I feel like there were a few games we should have won.”

One of the games Lisella mentioned happened while the rest of the university’s students were on winter break.

While most people were spending time with their families over the holidays, the brown and gold were in Puerto Rico taking part in the Puerto Rico Classic. The first game of the tournament pitted the Profs against then-No. 19 ranked Albright College, according to the D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll at the time.

The Lions ultimately came away with a 72-68 victory.

“Should have beat them, honestly,” Lisella said. “When I look at every single one of our games, every single one of them that we dropped, we were in striking distance. In some respects we ran out of time. [Albright] was an example.”

Since that loss, the brown and gold have mostly had success, compiling a record of 5-3 and climbing to fourth place in the conference.

If they hope to keep that spot and return to the NJAC playoffs, the Profs will have to continue that success for the remaining seven games, all of which happen to be in conference.

“They’re huge. I’ve said for years that the NJAC is tough,” Lisella said. “We keep saying on any given night, anybody can get anybody. We’ve got to make sure we’re prepared physically, mentally and emotionally to come in and do battle every single night. At this point you want to make the tournament, get a good seed and have a home game.”

With those goals set, Rowan might want to ride senior guard Anyssa Sanchez to the finish line.

Sanchez, who has not scored under 10 points this season and topped 30 twice, currently ranks second in the NJAC in points per game, sixth in rebounds per game and second in steals per game.

She also has the third-highest field goal percentage at 55 percent.

“Anyssa’s in her fourth year, she’s a senior, and she’s like, ‘Well, if we can’t do it, I’m going to put everybody on my back.’ That’s what you want a senior leader to do,” Lisella said. “I think we are a team where, Alex [Raring] could light up for 20, Val [Garofalo] could get hot, or our inside players go off. We don’t structure things to go through certain people.”

On Wednesday night, the brown and gold dropped its contest to Rutgers-Camden, 84-75, and trailed by as many as 22. Sanchez led the Profs with 18 points.

Rowan will play at Montclair State on Saturday, Jan. 28.

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