The Rowan women’s basketball team came off a 67-48 win over William Paterson University in the tournament’s first round. Senior guard Summer Crilley had an impressive stat line of 21 points, 11 rebounds and four steals in the victory.
Next up was Montclair State University, who eliminated the Profs from the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Tournament the last two seasons. Montclair is in pursuit of their sixth consecutive NJAC title.
The two teams met twice in the regular season, both games resulting in a loss for the brown and gold. The most recent was played in the Esby Gym and finished with a final score of 72-66. Senior guard Alex Raring didn’t play in that game and senior center April Szymczyk missed a big chunk of the action due to an injury. Sophomore guard Dominique Peters led the way for Rowan with 18 points but was in foul trouble for much of the game.
Raring, along with the rest of the entire roster, was available for Tuesday’s game.
“Having everyone healthy certainly helps,” said Rowan head coach Gabby Lisella. “Having a little bit more experience on the floor and the rhythm we currently have can be a positive for us going in. We are confident and well prepared. It’s just a matter of who gets it done.”
Montclair out-rebounded the Profs by 22 rebounds over the two meetings. That will be a big key for the Profs going into the game.
“You can never understate the importance of rebounding,” Lisella said. “It gives you more possessions. We’ve forced them into some bad shots but they, a lot of the time, were still able to get extra opportunities because of their rebounding…. If we allow them to walk the ball up the court, slow the game down, and take in between 25 to 30 seconds off the clock each possession, then that’s to their advantage. But, if we can force them into rushing things, and play to our pace, then that’s to our advantage. It’s all going to come down to who’s style dominates.”
Unfortunately, they fell to the Red Hawks, 65-55. They were out-rebounded, 49-35. Montclair also shot 20-28 from the free throw line, with the Profs going just 9-18.
“We’re a young team with a solid core of leadership,” Lisella said. “Throughout the course of the season this group has been resilient. Many different things have happened along the way and they have always responded. We have come up short as far as wins and losses are concerned a few more times than we would of liked, but every one of them were able to come back in everyday with a renewed focus, and we are still alive because of that.”
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