The women’s basketball season came to an end on Wednesday, Feb. 25, at Montclair State University after losing 58-53 to the Red Hawks in the New Jersey Athletic Conference tournament.
The team finished with a 16-11 record and also ended the season winning seven of their last eight games.
In their final game, the seniors combined for 32 points. Kelly Coughlin led with a team-high 13 points while Jessica Goldbach had 11 and Kylie O’Donnell added eight.
“(Coughlin), (Goldbach) and (O’Donnell) are irreplaceable,” coach Dawn Henderson said. “They have been our heart and soul and will be greatly missed. Their leadership both off and on the court really is what led us to our 7-1 finish.”
Junior Angelica Esposito had nine points while junior Christina Merlin added six and Jess Lynch had four. Sophomore Katy Amato had the other two points.
The Red Hawks were led by Juanita Aquino, who had a game-high 20 points. She was followed by Melissa Tobie, who had 18.
The Lions led for nearly the entire first half. The only time they didn’t was when the Red Hawks got the first basket of the game.
The Lions were up by as much as nine points in the first half with 5:18 left. In the second half, the Red Hawks led by seven points with 15:24 remaining.
The home team began the second half with back-to-back three pointers by Aquino. Then, Melissa Tobie added a two-point basket to make it 33-27.
The game was tied at 37 with 11:08 remaining when Coughlin made another basket. The team was down 37-35 following back-to-back baskets by O’Donnell and Merlin.
Coughlin made a key three pointer to make it 42-41 before Montclair State scored six straight to make it 47-42.
In the final minute, the Lions were down 56-53 after the score being 53-50 minutes before. The Red Hawks made both free throws to secure the win.
“I am so, so proud of the team,” Henderson said. “Nobody but us thought we could win. We came out right from the opening top and just played so tough. We played our game and that’s what allowed us to take and hold the lead in the first half.”