The Rowan women’s basketball team have registered five straight wins, four of them against conference opponents. They’ve defeated Kean University, Ramapo College, Rutgers-Newark and Eastern University. The fifth win came by forfeit from New Jersey City University. According to the Rowan University Athletics page, “The Gothic Knights are being disciplined in the aftermath of an incident during and after its game with York College (NY) on Dec. 13.”
The brown and gold got some big individual performances during the win streak. Sophomore guard Dominique Peters scored 29 points against Eastern University and 20 points versus Ramapo. Senior captain and guard Summer Crilley dropped 27 points against Ramapo as well. In the win over Rutgers-Newark, she recorded a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Senior captain Alex Raring put up 23 points in the win over Kean.
Senior center April Szymczyk has continued her excellent play so far this season. In the win over Rutgers-Newark, she scored 21 points and recorded a double-double with 25 points and 19 rebounds against Kean.
Szymczyk realizes there’s no room for error this time of year.
“We recognize we are at a very important part of the season,” Szymczyk said. “We broke down this time last year and we don’t want that to happen again. I also believe us playing as a team has been huge. Dom [Dominique Peters] and Summer [Crilley] have had big games for us lately. Everyone is stepping up for us right now.”
The center has lead the team in rebounds and blocked shots so far this season, trailing Raring in points. Despite the great numbers, Szymczyk is all about the team.
“I enjoy whatever the team needs from me on the given night,” Szymczyk said. “Some nights I’m needed to score more, some nights it’s rebounding. Personally, I like getting the ball to whoever has the hot hand that night.”
Head coach Gabby Lisella is happy with how her team has found a way to close out the games recently.
“We’ve had to gut it out lately,” Lisella said. “We’ve found a way to win these ballgames and it’s been done with a next-man-up sort of mentality.”
Rowan then plays in another NJAC matchup as they travel to Stockton. In the first meeting between the two teams in November, Lisella saw a lot of positives from her young bunch despite the 70-64 loss.
“We forced them to commit 37 turnovers, and outside of just putting the ball into the basket, I thought we played very well,” Lisella said. “We took 30 more shots than them. We couldn’t hit the ocean.”
Before the season started, Lisella knew the Profs needed to start games much better. It has been a theme for them all season.
“I think we have improved in that aspect,” Lisella said. “We haven’t buried ourselves much lately. For the most part, in the games we’ve started well, we’ve won. However, the one thing I’m still looking for is for us to put together a really good full 40 minutes of basketball.”
It is a critical time in the season with NJAC games coming on thick and fast. The Profs could not have found some stability at a better time.
Unfortunately, Rowan fell to the Ospreys 84-77. The Profs found themselves in a deep hole after being outscored 32-15 in the third quarter, making the rest of the game a comeback effort. Now they’re down 16 going into the final frame. They were able to cut the lead to just three with 37 seconds remaining in the contest after Crilley converted on three shots from the free throw line. She scored the last eight points for the Profs with five from the stripe and one hit from downtown, finishing the game with a career-high 30 points.
Szymczyk recorded another double-double with 20 points and 12 boards. Peters had 17 points and six rebounds.
Rowan is now 10-6 overall and 7-3 in the NJAC, dropping to third place in the conference. They host William Paterson on Saturday, Jan. 20 at 1 p.m.
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