In a critical late-season New Jersey Athletic Conference match up on Wednesday night, the Rowan women’s basketball team dropped a nail-biter to rival Montclair State University, 71-70.
Rowan led the conference by one game over Montclair State and Stockton University entering the contest; the three teams now all occupy first place.
“It’s just going to have to play out. The other two teams play each other the last game of the season so one of them will be eliminated,” head coach Gabby Lisella said. “Right now we’ve got to make sure we do what we have to do on Saturday. Do our jobs, do what we need to do and let the rest take care of itself.”
With under a minute left to play, the game was tied at 67.
Junior guard Anyssa Sanchez converted one of her two free throws and Rowan forced a turnover on Montclair’s next possession, which fellow guard Valerie Garofalo converted it into points with a floater in the paint.
After a pair of Montclair free throws, it was the Profs that turned the ball over this time. The Red Hawks then took a one-point lead with only 5.3 seconds left to play.
After a Rowan timeout, Graduate student guard Kaitlin Schullstrom inbounded the ball to Sanchez, who was met by three Montclair defenders and had to force up a shot. Rowan had another opportunity with one second left, but a travel was called as the buzzer sounded.
It was the Profs’ fourth loss of the season and just their first time losing consecutive games.
“I think we played with a lot of heart and effort. Certainly it’s disappointing, but I think it sets us up and prepares us for situations down the stretch,” Lisella said. “We want to use this as a learning and growing experience and just keep moving forward.”
The brown and gold shot a frigid 2-of-20 in the first quarter and found themselves down 15-4. However, a 25-point second quarter, including a combined 11 points from Schullstrom and graduate student forward Kate Matthews, led the team to pull within two at halftime.
“We started making shots,” Lisella said. “They had 15 and 16 through [the first two quarters] so the difference is we just started making shots.”
Rowan did not grab the lead for the first time until 7:08 left in the third quarter.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Montclair junior guard Rachael Krauss- 22 points (4-of-9 3PT), 8 rebounds, 3 assists
@ Rutgers-Newark (17-6, 12-4 NJAC), Saturday 6 pm
Previous meeting: W 72-59 (Jan. 16)
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