The women’s basketball team continued to dominate the competition this past week, as it annihilated Rutgers-Camden University, Rowan University and New Jersey City University by an average margin of over 30 points per contest, while scoring over 85 points per game on their way to clinching second place in the NJAC. With that silver medal finish, the Lions earned a first-round bye and a home game in the second round of the conference tournament next Tuesday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m. in Packer Hall.
But before the Lions can begin to shift their focus to the postseason, they’ll host No. 11 Montclair State University in a marquee matchup between the NJAC’s top two teams.
With both squads locked into their respective positions in the conference tournament, one may be inclined to say this game doesn’t really matter. The Lions have more than enough motivation, though, as it’s Senior Night and Montclair is the only in-conference team the Lions have yet to beat this season — the Red Hawks topped the Lions at home last month, 56-46, in the teams’ only meeting this season.
“Ever since we lost to them, we’ve been wanting a second chance to play them, and especially since it’s senior night, we’re even more excited,” senior guard Colleen Duffy said.
With senior guard Kelly Roddy a little under the weather on Saturday night against New Jersey City, Duffy went to work for the Lions — who led by only 10 at halftime — pouring in a career-high 15 points, while adding eight rebounds and tacking on four assists.
And this has been the story for the College all season. When someone isn’t quite feeling it on a given night, different players have risen to the occasion.
“An opponent even said to Tiffany DeTulio Saturday night, ‘You have so many people who can come in and knock down shots’ — it’s definitely a big advantage for us,” Duffy said.
Head coach Dawn Henderson is feeling very optimistic and confident headed into their regular season finale versus Montclair.
“We are anxious to play them,” Henderson said. “It’s the two best teams in the conference. We lost by 10 the first time we faced them, and I don’t know that we played our best game, so I hope that we go in relaxed and ready to play our game.”
Senior co-captain Liz West is just as amped up and ready to go.
“These last few games have helped us learn and grow as a team, and we have a lot of confidence going into our matchup with Montclair,” West said. “Especially us seniors playing on Senior Night, we know how important it is to give it everything we’ve got, and we’re prepared to fight to the finish.”
Furthermore, a win against Montclair on Wednesday, Feb. 19, would be a huge confidence booster heading into the NJAC tournament, where there’s a strong possibility they’ll end up meeting in the finals.
For seniors West, DeTulio, Roddy and Duffy, Wednesday night will be an emotional one. While they now know it won’t be their last game at Packer Hall, the end of their respective basketball careers is undoubtedly nearing.
“It’s been a special group from the beginning,” Henderson said. “They’ve really bought into the system and the four of them have definitely put their marks on what it means to play TCNJ women’s basketball.”