After a less than stellar 84-79 victory over William Paterson earlier in the week, the Rowan women’s basketball team dominated inside Esby Gymnasium, cruising to a 89-48 win over Rutgers-Camden.
In the first-quarter action, the Profs played unselfishly and had excellent ball movement that allowed for the Profs to shoot 50% from the field.
By the end of the first quarter, the Profs led 22-16, which was the closest the Scarlet Raptors would get all game.
Rowan placed early pressure on Rutgers-Camden when they went into a full-court press, a defensive tactic that the Profs would instill throughout the entirety of the game.
Head Coach Demetrius Poles reflected on the press by the Profs and why it was so effective, including the defensive pressure that guard Nicole Mallard, a junior, applied.
“Nicole is always the catalyst [on defense] and she gets it going with her steals, deflections and her disturbance and it just escalates to everybody else,” Coach Poles said.
The Profs’ strong defense forced the Scarlet Raptors to turn the ball over 11 times in the first half, compared to the Profs’ four.
By the end of the first half, the Profs amounted a sizeable 43-27 lead over the Scarlet Raptors, led by Mallard with eight points, six assists and two rebounds. Guard Grace Marshall, a senior, had six points and two rebounds and the guard/forward Dakota Adams, a junior, led all first-half scoring with 11 points and seven rebounds.
Adams was effective with her midrange jumper, while Marshall’s rebounding and Mallard’s ability to dish the ball proved to be too much for the Scarlet Raptors to handle.
In addition, ten out of 12 Profs that entered the game were able to score in the first half, a nod to the unselfish play that freshman guard Kate Herlihy cites as something the Profs are used to doing in practice.
“My teammates are really good at moving the ball, and we know how to find the open person,” Herlihy said. “We practice that a lot in practice. Finding that open person and making that extra pass, and we’re all very unselfish about it.”
In the second half, a majority of the bench for the Profs saw some playing time, including Herlihy who chipped in with eight second-half points. Fellow guards, junior Savanna Holt added six second-half points and freshman Reagan Russo also added six second-half points. In total, the bench scored 39 points, but the defense was the difference-maker in the game.
“We played together, we played defense, we played with effort and awareness and we shared the ball and I think our defensive pressure hurt them pretty much,” Coach Poles said. “In the second half they couldn’t get the ball past half court, but I’m happy with the effort and it was nice to see them come together and put together an effort like that.”
The defense that collapsed on the Scarlet Raptors allowed for the Profs to get easy buckets in transition, which led to 26 fast-break points for Rowan. The Profs also dominated in the paint and scored 56 points down low, compared to the 14 points Rutgers-Camden was able to hit.
“We want to maximize our opportunities and make sure we don’t turn the ball over. We try to limit our turnovers between 10-12 every game, and that will maximize our offensive effort because we want more shots,” Coach Poles said.
In total, the Profs forced the Scarlet Raptors to turn the ball over 26 times, which allowed the Profs to play their style of basketball, executing on the defensive end, forcing a turnover and finishing the play with a bucket in transition.
Herlihy, who was a leader in the second unit, finished with 10 points, understands this is a style of play the Profs can capitalize on.
“That’s the main thing we practice, a lot of transition stuff, a lot of finding that open person,” Herlihy said.
In every aspect of the game, the Profs dominated over the Scarlet Raptors, shooting 49.3% from the field and 92.9% from the free-throw line. Of the players that entered the game, 12 out of 13 were able to score and four finished in double digits.
Strong ball movement, execution on the defensive end and unselfish play were the key factors that propelled the Profs to their victory over the Scarlet Raptors.
The Profs move to 13-7 and 11-3 in The New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) and will play on Saturday, Feb. 5, against Rutgers-Newark before returning to Glassboro the following week.
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