The Rowan women’s basketball was hot and had won five straight games, including a victory over the William Patterson Pioneers in the first round of the New Jersey Athletic Conference Playoffs.
Against the Pioneers, freshman guard Alexis Kriley scored a career-high 24 points to go along with four rebounds. Kriley went 8 of 15 from the field and hit 7 of 9 of her free throws. Many of her points came by getting into the paint, something that isn’t new for the guard.
“Since I started playing when I was little that’s mainly what I did,” Kriley said. “I would go to the basket. That’s the main part of my game.”
Sophomore forward Tamera Webster proved to be productive in her first start of the season, scoring 10 points and grabbing seven boards. She was also active on the defensive end of the floor, collecting four steals in 20 minutes of action.
At halftime, the Pioneers held a one-point lead despite turning over the ball 17 times. Head coach Gabby Lisella had a simple fix for the brown and gold’s problem.
“[We had to] stop fouling and we just really needed to convert,” Lisella said. “In the first half we missed a ton of shots in the paint, so we were getting great looks just not knocking them down so we had to make sure we converted. Our defense also kicked up so we were able to capitalize on those as well.”
The Profs indeed capitalized on those opportunities. In the first half, the team shot 38 percent from the field and only had four free-throw attempts. In the second, the Profs slightly raised their shooting percentage to 42 but got to the charity stripe 21 times.
The brown and gold took on No. 15 Montclair State, the top seed, on Wednesday. In the past, Montclair had proven to be a tough opponent for the Profs, who had lost the past four matchups dating back to last year. Included in that unfortunate streak is a 68-62 loss in last year’s NJAC Championship.
This contest did not buck that trend.
The Red Hawks, led by junior forward Katie Sire and senior guard Rachael Krauss, defeated Rowan in the NJAC Semifinals, 76-67.
Going into the game, Montclair had a .401 field-goal percentage and a .321 three-point percentage, which ranked third and second in the conference, respectively. Those numbers held true during the contest as the Red Hawks shot 43 percent from the field and 39 percent from three. Sire and Krauss both hit half of their three-pointers and combined for 48 points.