Mallard’s buzzer beater gives women’s basketball control of the NJAC

The Profs celebrate following Nicole Mallard's buzzer beater to beat Montclair. The victory gives the Profs sole possession of first place in the NJAC. Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. Mike Reina/ Multimedia Editor.

Rowan University’s Women’s Basketball team now stand atop the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) after a buzzer beating layup by Nicole Mallard.

They beat Montclair State, who shared the NJAC lead with the Profs, yesterday afternoon by a score of 67-65.

With time winding down, Eliana Santana drove to the basket and found Mallard with a nice bounce pass and Mallard laid it up for the win. 

“To make the basket at the end after struggling from the field was really big for me,” Mallard said.

She totaled 14 points and six rebounds. 

It was a close game from the start. Montclair led for 29 minutes while Rowan had the lead for only five. 

The Profs went to the line 34 times yesterday. They were attacking the paint by scoring 30 points inside, which was totally different from last Saturday after taking 55 shots from behind the arc. 

“Staying on the attack is how we play,” Head Coach Demetrius Poles said. “We like to get to the paint and draw fouls or kick it out. That’s the mindset we want to have to be successful. If we made more from the line, we would’ve won easily but they wanted to give everybody a nice surprise.” 

The key for the Profs came with 5:09 to play in the game when Poles called a timeout with the Profs down by four. After that timeout, Rowan went on a 9-2 run to give them the lead in the closing minutes. 

“We practiced this so it’s just like practice,” Poles said. “We weren’t nervous or shaken up. We try to execute the plays we always run.” 

This was a big team win for the Profs. Santana helped with the game-winner, alongside having scored 17 points and pulled down nine rebounds. Ayanna Johnson was big on the boards with 23 total rebounds. 

Kennedy Brown scored 11 points and had four assists. Grace Marshall played a total of 35 minutes and scored 16 points. 

Those stats show how talented and balanced this team is. They are exciting to watch and are dangerous when they play at their best. 

“We have some talented players on this team. If you give them space, they are going to hurt you and that’s just what happened today,” Poles said. 

The Profs have three games left in the regular season with two on the road. They will head to William Patterson Wednesday night. 

“We can’t stop now,” Mallard said. “We have to keep going at it and have the same mindset as we had against Montclair State.”

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