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Lions pounce on rival Roadrunners at home, but loss to Pioneers dashes playoff hopes

By Anthony Caruso
Staff Writer

The College’s women’s basketball team split their games last week, beating the Ramapo Roadrunners on Wednesday, Feb. 10, at home, 51-39, and falling to William Paterson University on Saturday, Feb. 13, 61-57. However, with the loss, the team’s New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) playoff hopes ended as they were eliminated from contention and will miss out on further postseason play.

On Wednesday, the team defeated the Ramapo Roadrunners, 51-39, in Packer Hall, improving to 12-11 overall and 8-8 within the NJAC.

“It’s big that we are keeping our postseason hopes alive,” Lions head coach Dawn Henderson said. “We’re taking it one game at a time right now and we know what we need to do — we need to win our next two games in order to make the playoffs. If we lose one, we know that our season will come to an end short of our expectations.”

The Lions jumped out on the Roadrunners in the first quarter, as they scored the first eight points in the game, before freshman guard Alexandra Seedes scored a three-point basket for the visitors. The first quarter ended with the Lions leading 17-7.

The team led throughout the first half. Junior guard Kim Dana gave the Lions an extended lead going into the break, as she made a two-point basket just before the buzzer rang for the half to make it 29-20.

Before Dana’s basket, the Roadrunners had cut the team to 27-20 after three straight points.

Senior guard Angelica Esposito had four out of six points when the Lions scored three straight baskets.

“We got away from our game plan there (with Roadrunners junior forward Kellie Lane scoring six straight),” Henderson said. “She was able to score against us, then I called a time out to change things up. After that, we stopped them from doing those same things and I don’t think she scored another point the rest of the game.”

Lions sophomore center Nikki Schott scored a basket just before Esposito scored to make it 46-35.

Both teams traded baskets in the final minutes, but it was Dana who made a three-pointer for the final basket of the game.

“I’m happy for Kim,” Esposito said. “She’s a good player and she was hitting her shots. It’s good to get others involved in the game and have them lead the team in scoring for a game.”

This was also the final home game for Esposito, guard Jess Lynch and Merlin. Each senior knew that her season was coming to a close.

“It’s been a great journey,” said Esposito, who has had 62 wins with the Lions. “To be a part of this team for the past four years, it’s something that I don’t want to end. It’s been a fun ride and I’ve enjoyed being around these girls. Hopefully, we’ll have at least one more game here so this isn’t the last one.”

On Saturday, the Lions lost to the William Paterson Pioneers, 61-57, officially ending their playoff hopes.

The Lions cut the lead to 59-57 when Lynch made a basket. But the Pioneers made two late free throws to seal the win. The game was tied at 55 before William Paterson went on a 6-2 run to end the game.

The team began the fourth quarter with the lead at 48-44, and held a 55-47 lead, before the home team starts to mount its comeback.

The College dominated the Pioneers in the third quarter, as they scored 22 points. After the game was tied at 39, the Lions went on a 9-5 run to end the quarter.

Esposito had seven of the team’s nine points in the second quarter.

The game was tied at 19 when Pioneers senior forward Brittany Harden made a basket. Esposito’s three-pointer gave the Lions a 22-21 lead before the Pioneers led the rest of the quarter.

They are 12-12 on the season and will close out their season on Wednesday, Feb. 17, at Kean University.

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