The 17-8 Rowan women’s basketball team find themselves in good form as the season heads toward the New Jersey Athletic Conference Championship Tournament.
With recent victories against Rutgers-Newark, Kean, and Ramapo, the team finds themselves executing in different ways.
In their most recent win, a 90-63 drubbing of Ramapo, four players scored in double figures. Senior guard Anyssa Sanchez led all players with 22 points, sophomore quard Olivia Rulon had 18, junior forward Alex Raring had 16 and freshman guard Alexis Kriley had 10.
Five players hit double figures in the 93-86 victory against Kean University on Feb. 8. Junior guard Summer Crilley came away with 21 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals. Rulon scored 18 and Raring came away with 15 points. Freshman guards Dominique Peters and Kriley both came away with 11 points.
In the 80-62 victory against Rutgers-Newark only three days later, guard Anyssa Sanchez led the Profs with 22 points to go with nine rebounds after playing only nine minutes against Kean. Crilley also chipped in with a double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
Sanchez missed a game against NJCU due to injury and head coach Gabby Lisella says it was nice to see her “bring her explosiveness back.”
“The things she’s able to do defensively for us and providing rebounds are every bit as important to us as the points she can put up,” Lisella said.
The strategy the brown and gold employed against their previous three opponents was simple. Lisella said she wanted to control the matchup in the paint. More specifically, limit the opponents opportunities in the paint while looking to attack them inside.
The Profs outscored the Scarlet Raiders 38-32 in the paint.
While the Cougars outscored them 46-32 in the paint, the Profs countered by hitting 12 three-pointers of their own.
“What we’re able to do effectively was get the ball inside and then kick it out,” Lisella said. “We’re much stronger when doing that as opposed to running down to the line and popping it up.”
With the season winding down, the seniors’ time as collegiate basketball players is coming to a close. Guards Mandy Jiang, Valerie Garofalo and Sanchez have each been a part of the program since the 2013-14 season. They’ve seen both the highs and lows, but with a third consecutive winning season, they will be going out on a high note.
Lisella described each of her seniors with one word, saying Jiang is “glue,” Garofalo is “energy” and Sanchez is “intensity.”
The Profs are locked in as the fourth seed for the NJAC tournament with an 11-7 conference record and will play the fifth seed, which is currently held by Rutgers-Camden, on Saturday afternoon at home. Last season, the Profs were the runners-up in the tournament, losing to Montclair State. However, they were rewarded with an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament.
According to Lisella, there is no need for adjustments when it comes to post-season play. When asked, the coach said, “We are who we are.”
“We have a lot of rotations, so I think whatever we play at some point, we already had played it before,” she said. “[We are] focusing on being who we are, [and] playing to our strong points. We’ve really worked at being diligent all year long. If we play our game better than opponents play their game, then we’re going to come out on top.”
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