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Team loses ground in conference playoff hunt

By Anthony Caruso
Staff Writer

The College’s women’s basketball team went 1-2 in three conference games last week. The Lions fell to the Montclair State University Red Hawks, 49-57, on Monday, Feb. 1, and the Rowan University Profs, 66-87, on Wednesday, Feb. 3. The College was able to close out the week on a high with a win against New Jersey City University (NJCU), 74-41.

Seniors Lynch, Merlin and Esposito are honored before the game. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)
Seniors Lynch, Merlin and Esposito are honored before the game. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

Before the game began, the senior players were acknowledged for their time with the team during the team’s senior day. The three seniors — guard Angelica Esposito, forward Christina Merlin and guard Jess Lynch — were recognized by head coach Dawn Henderson, as well as the players’ families, who were in attendance.

As a group, the seniors have won 62 games in their four years.

“They’ve had a great season and have been mainstays for us,” Henderson said. “I was really happy for them, but I’m sad to see them go. They’ve been great players here for us over the past four years.”

On Monday evening, in the postponed game from Winter Storm Jonas, the Red Hawks defeated the Lions, 57-49, in Packer Hall. The loss dropped the team to a 10-10 record, as well as a 6-7 record within the New Jersey Athletic Conference.

Seniors Esposito and Lynch led the Lions with 10 points each. The team shot 35.8 percent from the field.

On Wednesday evening, the team suffered a loss to the Rowan Profs at Esby gym in Glassboro, N.J. The loss dropped the Lions to 10-11 overall and 6-8 in the NJAC.

There was only one lead change in this game. The Profs led by as much as 31 points in the second quarter.

Esposito led the team with 20 points. Freshman guard Kate O’Leary added 13 points and junior guard Kim Dana had 11 points. The Lions shot 39.3 percent from the field in the game.

“I think we did a good job of passing the ball around,” Esposito said. “As our coach said, we had 25 assists, so we able to get it inside and out. Everyone was scoring, so it was a fun game all around.”

On Saturday afternoon, the Lions defeated the NJCU Gothic Knights in Packer Hall. The Lions got back to .500 with the win at 11-11, which kept their conference playoff hopes alive.

Right now, the Lions are in the seventh position and there are only three games left in the season. The Rutgers-Camden University Scarlet Raptors have the same 7-8 conference mark — however, they defeated the Lions twice this season, so they have the sixth position.

“It’s going to be really important that we win all three games,” Esposito said. “We’re not really thinking about the end, as we are taking it one game at a time. In the back of our minds, we have to play all out, because we don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Esposito led the Lions with 20 points. Sophomore forward Nikki Schott added 14 points, while Lynch scored 10. The Lions shot 48.4 percent from the field.

The College’s final home regular season game will be on Wednesday, Feb. 10, against Ramapo College, before the team ends with back-to-back road games against William Paterson and Kean Universities.

“We’ve been up and down and the two games that we would love to have back are our first (William) Paterson loss and our last (Rutgers) Camden loss, which we lost by a few points,” Henderson said. “We’ve lost so many close games, but those things happen. We’re focusing on winning one quarter at a time and then go from there.”

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