The Rowan women’s basketball team collected their second win in a row after a 63-54 victory over Stockton University on Wednesday night, Jan. 18. Grace Marshall was just seven shy of her career-high, scoring 22 points. A strong second half and lockdown defense were also pivotal factors in the win.
It was a close contest in the first quarter with the Profs having the edge 14-11, but a 50% shooting margin in the second quarter allowed the Ospreys to take the advantage into the half. Stockton went 7-14 from the field and 2-4 from downtown, outscoring Rowan 19-12 in the second quarter.
Although the Ospreys created their largest lead of the game, 27-16, late in the second quarter, Marshall hit two of her three three-pointers to pull Rowan within four at the end of the first half.
In Marshall’s fifth year with the Profs she’s averaging 8.6 points per game. Although this is a career low for her, Marshall’s experience and determination has proven effective on the squad.
“I think this year has been kind of a battle mentally because I have high expectations for myself and the team,” Marshall said. “So I just had to take it day by day, get back to the fundamentals, focusing and doing the little things.”
Marshall has now put up double figures five games in a row, and led all scorers in the game on Jan. 18. Head Coach Demetrius Poles has taken notice, citing how she set the tone for the matchup.
“Her [Marshall’s] performance was wonderful, we want her to do that every game, if possible. She was great tonight, she was focused on leading the team and staying aggressive, she pushed the pace,” Coach Poles said. “She kept us in the game at the end of the game and the middle of the game. We really appreciate her efforts and we hope she can continue it.”
In the third quarter, the defense made a notable contribution by only allowing Stockton to score ten points, while the offense put up 16 of their own. The Ospreys held onto the lead for the first seven minutes of the third quarter until Kate Herlihy hit two huge buckets in a row, dropping five of her ten points to eventually tie the game 38 apiece.
A three-point play from Nicole Mallard pivoted the Profs to a 42-40 lead heading into the fourth, which they did not surrender. The Profs forced 25 turnovers and 11 steals throughout the game, four of which came in the fourth quarter.
“We relied on our defense, and relied on pressuring the ball as we usually do, we just relied on who we are. We made some good plays defensively to change the tide,” Coach Poles said. “Nicole [Mallard] got going a little bit at the end, she was hard to guard and Grace [Marshall] was just wonderful and took over. But defensively we did not let them get off easy shots and easy threes like we did in the first half.”
Stockton tried to hang around throughout the fourth quarter, but Mallard and Danielle McCurdy each hit a pair of free throws at the end of the game to solidify the nine-point victory.
“This is the game that will bring us up. One, Stockton is our rival, and two, we’re starting the second half of the season so we want to go up,” Marshall said. “This [win] is huge.”
The victory means the Profs have officially swept the Ospreys during the regular season, as they took them down 61-53 back on Nov. 22.
“Every game is a mini championship,” Coach Poles said. “You can lose it or win it, and if you keep winning you got to focus on the next battle.”
Rowan now sits at 10-7 on the season and 6-4 in the conference, which puts them at sixth in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC). Their next battle will take place on Saturday, Jan. 21, against William Paterson University. The Profs hope to avenge their overtime loss earlier this season against the Pioneers.
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