The New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Women Basketball Championship game was played on Wednesday, and it was one exciting game. The #1 seed, Rowan beat the #2 seed Montclair State University 64-54 in Glassboro, meaning the Profs are the NJAC Champions for the seventh time.
From the opening tip to the final whistle, the game was electrifying and the crowd took no time getting into it. The first quarter was back and forth action with shots going in for both teams.
Montclair was able to take a lead early in the quarter; however, the Profs fought back and was up 19-18 at the end of the first.
The second quarter felt different though; both teams got a little bit sloppy with numerous travel violations being called. This stunted the momentum that Rowan had been building.
The Red Hawks shooting helped them take control of the game going into the half, 39-33.
For the first half of the third quarter, it looked like Montclair were going to run away with it.
With a lead that grew to as many as 12 points, the crowd was starting to fade out of the game. But that changed with 4:22 left in the third quarter.
From then to end the third quarter, the Profs went on a 12-0 run lead by phenomenal defense and strong contributions all around and went into the fourth all tied up at 48-48.
In the fourth quarter, it was all Rowan. Nicole Mallard and Kennedy Brown took over the game for the Profs, leading the team to the win and the NJAC Championship.
After the game, Brown gave some insight how she was able to fight through the adversity she faced during the game.
“It’s a championship game,” Brown said. “There’s no how. Just have to do it.”
A unique aspect of this team is that there are no seniors on the roster, but that didn’t matter to Head Coach Demetrius Poles.
“I told them to strip all of the labels with juniors and seniors, it does not matter,” Poles said. “You just gotta go out there and compete.”
Poles also said the team made some changes after the first half.
“Well in the second half we put a press on, 2-1-2 press,” Poles said. “And it kinda sped the game up and they started throwing the ball all over the place…(Montclair) got tired and worn out.”
Rowan will look to keep this momentum going into NCAA Division III Tournament coming off their successful 24-3 season.
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