By Alexandra Parado
After starting the season with a loss in the first round of the York College Tip-Off Tournament, the women’s basketball team bounced back with a three-game winning-streak.
The beginning of this season marked a new era in the women’s basketball program. New head coach Chessie Jackson leads the Lions after the retirement of former head coach Dawn Henderson.
On Nov. 17, the Lions opened their season with a close match against York College of Pennsylvania where they fell 62-65. The following day, the team defeated Grove City College in a 63-42 win.
The team claimed its first New Jersey Athletic Conference victory against Rutgers University-Camden, 75-72, on Nov. 21. The Lions then handily defeated Hunter College, 73-60, in their home opener on Saturday, Nov. 25.
In their first game of the season, the Lions took the court and built a 16-8 lead in the first quarter. York didn’t respond until the second quarter when they pushed for a 21-18 advantage.
The third quarter was a stagnant period for both teams — neither were able to gain a significant advantage. York led by only seven points.
In the face of York’s efforts to put the game away, the Lions played hard until the very last second of the game. Sophomore forward Jen Byrne’s last ditch shot didn’t land on the buzzer and resulted in a 65-62 defeat for the Lions.
During the game, Byrne led the Lions in scoring with a career-high of 35 points, enough to tie the College’s record for most points in a game held by alumna Hillary Klimowicz (’09) from the three-point arc, Byrne shot 4-6 and a flawless 7-7 from the line.
As a team, the Lions made less than half of their shots. Defensively, the team prospered from senior forward Nikki Schott’s huge performance. Schott grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds and recorded three blocks. Freshman forward Shannon Devitt snatched seven rebounds and tamed opponents with five blocks.
The Lions remained in York on Nov. 18, and got their first win against Grove City College, 63-42. From the start, the team was hungry and worked their way to an earned victory to bounce back from its first loss.
At the end of the first quarter, the Lions led 21-12. Junior forward Samantha Famulare and senior guard Charlotte Schum seized every opportunity to take their shots beyond the arc. Famulare drained a pair of threes and finished with 12 points that quarter.
The Lions continued to heat up in the second quarter and entered the second half with an 18-point lead. Their offense did not slow down at all.
After Grove City attempted to make a comeback, the Lions picked up four points each from Schum and Byrne and two points from Devitt who filled the stat sheet with eight points, five rebounds, six blocks and two steals. The team obtained the win with a 21-point lead and a strong defensive effort.
The Lions remained on the road for their first conference matchup against Rutgers University-Camden on Nov. 21.
The Lions immediately took a 15-8 lead. Famulare shot perfectly in a 3-for-3 stretch including a three-pointer for seven early points. Rutgers-Camden was not behind for long as they fought to break the gap on the board. Rutgers-Camden led 22-19 after the opening quarter and carried that lead into the second quarter.
Byrne and Rutgers-Camden’s senior forward/center Michelle Obasi battled to catch up and extend each team’s lead in the third quarter.
As soon as the final quarter began, Devitt began to orchestrate the Lion’s offense. She scored eight consecutive points that gave the Lions a lead to hold on to. Devitt recorded her first double-double of her collegiate career with 13 points and 14 rebounds.
The Lions continued to improve the score as junior guard Kate O’Leary delivered three pointers on back-to-back possessions that moved the Lions ahead, 75-72. Rutgers-Camden attempted an unsuccessful three-pointer at the buzzer which ensured a win for the Lions.
Fresh off two victories, the Lions were determined to get another win against Hunter College on Saturday, Nov. 25.
In front of a huge crowd in Packer Hall, the team came out on their home court with a 17-6 run and took a 27-16 lead in the first quarter.
O’Leary topped it off with a three-pointer made with only four seconds left in the quarter. The Lions offense cooled down in the second quarter but the defense held Hunter to only eight points that period.
Going into the second half, the Lions were up 36-24 and grabbed control of the game as if the lead wasn’t there. Schott and Byrne gave the team a jump start with three-pointers and pushed the lead to 55-30. Defensively, the Lions regulated Hunter to only nine points that quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Hunter had 27 points over the Lion’s 16, but the Lions cruised to victory.
The Lions were able to claim a 73-60 victory as three players reached double figures. The game featured strong performances from many players. Byrne finished with 21 points, Devitt with 16 points and Schum with 14 points.
After starting the season off with a loss in the opening game, the Lions impressively compensated for that loss with three sequential wins, ensuing a record of 3-1.