October 19, 2020

Lions make playoffs, lose in first round

Senior guard Stephanie Prall. (Tom O’Dell / Photo Editor)

In a must-win game, the College’s women’s basketball team prevailed against Rowan University to clinch a spot in the NJAC playoffs. The team had little time to bask in its victory, though, as they were back in action later in the week to take on Rutgers University-Newark. Unfortunately, the Lions fell to the Scarlet Raiders and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

The beginning of the week was promising as the squad defeated the Profs by a score of 62-55 on Wednesday, Feb. 16.

“We knew we were capable of making it to the NJAC playoffs, but because of our early losses in the season, it put us in a tough spot,” junior forward Hannah Tait said. “We proved to ourselves how good we could be and that if we played like that, we would make it to the playoffs.”

The game started off slowly for the Lions, who hit only one of their first 14 shots. The Lions’ offensive scheme began to go their way as junior guard Jessica Imhof and senior center Alex Gregorek began knocking down shots to give the Lions a 31-21 advantage in the first half.

In the first five minutes of the second half, the Lions pushed the score to 37-27. The Profs, however, stormed back with a 9-2 run to close the gap to only three points. From that point on, senior guard Keri Washington showed her veteran leadership as she took over the game on both the offensive and defensive ends of the ball. Washington scored the final five points of the game for the Lions to ice the game and give them a ticket to the playoffs.

“I was most happy that we won,” Tait said. “I could have sat the bench the whole game and would have still been thrilled because we made it to the playoffs.”

With the win, Gregorek posted a monster game scoring 10 points and nabbing 15 rebounds. Washington play was also outstanding, finishing with 15 points and seven rebounds. Other solid contributions belonged to Imhof who finished with 12 points and Tait who finished with eight points.

The playoff game against the Scarlet Raiders was a valiant effort on the Lions part, but the team fell short by a score of 63-48.

The Lions started the game off well, scoring the first three points of the game and limiting the Raiders to zero points for the first 5:30 of the game. The Raiders ended their scoring drought with a 13-3 run, extending the lead to nine. The Lions fought back, and cut the score to 23-18 to finish the first half.

In the second half, the Lions battled back to tie the score at 40-40 with only 8:47 left in the game. Things took a turn for the worst as the Raiders went on a 10-0 run over the next 2:27, and the Raiders never gave up the lead.

“We didn’t play that great and Rutgers Newark played well,” Tait said. “We would tie the score, and then they would make a run, and take the lead. We weren’t able to overcome the last run, and they came away with it.”

Turnovers were the story of the game for the Lions. The Lions committed a total of 19 turnovers, which was extremely difficult for them to overcome. Washington and Gregorek played well in the final games of their career at the College. Washington finished with a balanced effort of seven points and nine rebounds. Gregorek scored 15 points and was a scorching seven for 14 shooting from the field in her final game. Gregorek finishes her outstanding career with 1,039 points (13th all time) and 662 rebounds (sixth all time).

“Although we didn’t win, we fought hard and played as a team,” Tait said. “We knew we weren’t playing to our capabilities in the beginning of the season, but we turned it around and started winning. We grew as a team, and that is the most positive thing we can take away. We were able to overcome our early obstacles.”

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