On Saturday, Dec. 10, the Ramapo College women’s basketball team walked into Esby gymnasium with an 8-0 record, including New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) play. After 40 minutes of play Rowan, changed that, as they took down the Roadrunners 81-66 to put their record at 6-4 and 3-2 in the NJAC.
Despite the Roadrunners opening up the game on a 7-0 run, once the Profs came back to take the lead in the first quarter they controlled throughout the rest of the game.
Throughout the entirety of the game, Rowan implored their signature full-court press, and Head Coach Demetrius Poles stated that once they found a press that worked they were able to take advantage of Ramapo.
“We tried a few different ones, the last one we did worked, the other two we did not work, they have some very quick guards #15 [Jada Thompson] and #25 [Jackie Ventricelli] are very good. They split us, and in the first quarter they kept driving to the paint and creating for their teammates,” Coach Poles said. “And then when we put the third press that we have on, it slowed them down a lot and they started turning the ball over, because we put somebody defensively in the middle and they couldn’t handle it, so it helped out a lot when we made some adjustments.”
At the end of the first quarter, the Profs led 24-16 where they shot 57.1% from the field and 40% from the perimeter. In the second quarter, the Profs continued to lock down defensively as the Roadrunners hit their first field goal of the second quarter with 5:12 left in the first half.
As much as the Profs were able to execute on the defensive end, they had an offensive game plan as well. The Profs utilized their post players Eliana Santana, Danielle McCurdy, Ayanna Johnson and Dakota Adams to capitalize on the size advantage they possessed.
“Get the ball inside, no matter what,” Santana said. “Every single play had to be inside, every single play we ran was meant to be inside.”
Coach Poles elaborated on this game plan.
“I wanted them to get the ball inside, we were talking about that for days, they need to touch the ball inside, Eliana [Santana], Ayanna [Johnson], Dakota [Adams] and Danielle [McCurdy] they must own the paint for us, and in order for that to happen they have to be a threat,” Coach Poles said. “The game plan was to get the ball inside, we knew they were small and we knew they don’t like to press. We play them year after year, we kind of know each other, and I know they don’t like to be pressed and this year they didn’t have a lot of size, so we had to take advantage of it because we do have size.”
At the end of the first half Rowan had amassed a 50-30 lead and continued to come out strong at the start of the second half. Their largest lead of the game came at the end of the third quarter with under a minute left they led by 33 points, which came from Roadrunners shooting woes, Rowan’s hounding defense and their ability to execute sets.
Ramapo did not have a field goal in the third quarter going 0-14 from the field and 0-5 from downtown. The Profs were able to control the paint and the boards grabbing 39 rebounds and 32 points in the paint.
Even when the post players were not setting the tone down low, they were able to facilitate the offense and make plays for others.
“This was the first time we were told to literally get the ball into us,” Adams said. “Once they started to collapse then we would kick it back out.”
McCurdy, who is coming off of her best game with the Profs with ten points and six assists, discussed that the players around her helped her shine as well.
“Today it was kind of just knowing who I’m with, when I’m with Dakota [Adams] I know what she’s good at, I know where to get her the ball and let her do her thing, easy to make her look good, same with Elianna [Santana] and Ayanna, [Johnson]” McCurdy said. “All three of them, when you’re around talent it makes me look good too.”
The Profs had a 28-point lead at the end of the fourth quarter and continued to pour it on. They shot 45.2% from the field, and 87% from the charity stripe.
Leading the way for the Profs was Santana who had 14 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals, Johnson had six rebounds, four assists, two blocks and three steals. While Adams had 13 points and six boards and three assists and McCurdy added eight points, four rebounds, six assists and two blocks. Nicole Mallard also added 13 points on the day.
This victory was the Profs’ second win in a row 81-66 and put them fourth in the conference.
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