Strong Play on Both Sides of the Court Elevates Rowan Women’s Basketball to a Victory Over Rampo

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(From front to back): Grace Marshall, Savanna Holt, and Kate Herlihy on defense. The Prof's defense helped lead to their victory over Rampo on Saturday afternoon. Monday, Jan. 31, 2022. - Multimedia Editor / Lee Kotzen

This past Saturday, Feb. 12, Rowan University women’s basketball defeated Ramapo College 70-53 through their dominant defensive efforts and strong offensive performance.

To open up the game on the defensive end, Rowan began to press the Roadrunners, a defensive tactic that would be instilled by the Profs until the final possession of the game.

The aggressive nature of the Profs defense flustered Ramapo. Early contributions by senior forward and center Jazlyn Duverglas, sophomore guard and forward Kristina Johnson and senior guard Grace Marshall, made the Profs able to hold a 15-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the Profs defense was strong once again, as they held Ramapo to 12 points while gaining 23 themselves. Their tone on the defensive end set the pace for the entirety of the game. 

Head Coach Demetrius Poles was pleased with his team’s defense, especially in the second quarter. 

“In the second quarter, we started to get traps at halfcourt and get double teams and pressure the ball. And they started throwing the ball away and we started to score off our defense, which we really need to do,” Coach Poles said. “That’s our igniter, so it was good to see.” 

In addition to the defense, the Profs had strong ball movement and impressive shooting numbers. Duverglas went 4-4 at the free-throw line, while junior guard Savanna Holt shot 3-3 from the field, Marshall shot 3-6 from the field and Johnson went 2-3. 

The Profs shot 41.9% in the first half, compared to 25.7% that the Roadrunners shot. This propelled Rowan to a 38-26 lead entering second-half play. 

“That is my favorite part of the game. Kota [Dakota Adams] had an extra pass to Sav [Savanna Holt], Jazzy [Jazlyn Duverglas] had a good backdoor pass. Kelli [Kuenzel] made a great cut for a pass,” Marshall said. “We’re starting to get to the point where we know where we’re at.” 

In the second half, the Profs began to suffocate the Roadrunners before completing the sequence with a defensive rebound.

“We were locked in and we were focused. We didn’t let them get too many offensive rebounds, we didn’t let them get second-chance points. So we didn’t do all the work for 30 seconds and give it up after the shot goes up. We completed it with a defensive rebound,” Coach Poles said. “So we were fully locked in and engaged, that was the difference.” 

The Profs continued to press, both in a zone and in man, which created easy opportunities on the offensive end.

Marshall described the energy that the defense brought as electric, which led to 25 turnovers and the Profs swept 17 steals. 

“I love it, I think it gives us energy and makes the game exciting,” Marshall said. “We also score off our defense which is big, Coach Poles says it all the time, like, ‘we are going to create offense off of our defense.’” 

One of the biggest beneficiaries on the offensive end was Dakota Adams, who exploded for 12 second-half points and finished with her tenth total and third consecutive double-double. Adams totaled 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Freshman guard Kate Herlihy added five points, along with Johnson’s four second-half points in eight minutes. Johnson finished with 12 points, two rebounds, a steal and a block.

Adams also added three blocks, three assists and two steals to her impressive performance. Marshall finished with a team-leading five steals, three rebounds, three assists while adding nine points. 

The offense started strong in the first half and continued to strive in the second. The Profs were able to move without the ball and execute on the blocks. 

“That’s what we want to do, we want to move the ball, move bodies and you want to take advantage of what you have. And I think we took advantage of the areas of the court, in the low post and the high post, and off of cuts,” Coach Poles said. 

The Profs concluded the game by shooting 42.2% from the field and 31.3% from the three-point range. 

They will finish out the regular season at home against Montclair State University in a decisive New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) matchup on Wednesday, Feb. 16, at 5:30 p.m. 

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