Rowan Women’s Basketball opened up New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) play on Tuesday, Nov. 21, with a match against Stockton on Demetrius Poles Night. The game had a nice pregame ceremony, where everyone in attendance honored Coach Poles with a moment of silence due to his recent passing. All Rowan Athletics staff and a whole section in the crowd were wearing a yellow Rowan women’s basketball shirt with Poles’ name and signature number of 44 on the back.
After that, it was time for the game, which Rowan lost by a score of 48-40. The Ospreys had a good first quarter defensively, holding the Profs to six points. This, for Rowan, was unfortunately the theme of the night because they did not get much going offensively.
“We seemed pretty out of sync,” head coach Kate Pearson said. “We did not play off each other enough. We did not take advantage of our opportunities. We settled for too many of our outside shots.”
However, the script would flip in the second quarter, as it was Rowan who was able to hold the Ospreys to six points. This defensive performance was what allowed Rowan to stay in the game going into halftime.
“We talked a lot before the game about what we were gonna see from them offensively,” Pearson said. “We are getting better and we are getting closer where we want to be defensively. We just want to convert that into offense; we got to do a better job at doing that.”
In the second quarter, Jess McLaughlin and Nicole Mallard would combine to score all ten points for the Profs, with five each. Mallard ended the game as the leading scorer with 17 points. McLaughlin would finish with eight points, second on the team, and led the team in assists with five.
McLaughlin started off the season struggling, going 0-16 from the field but finally saw one go through the net in the win against Eastern last Saturday.
“She had to get over the hump,” Pearson said. “She makes plenty of shots at practice. She just needed the first shot to go in and that built confidence.”
McLaughlin put in the work to turn her season around and allow her to start contributing to the team through scoring.
“Staying after practice and coming in early really helped,” McLaughlin said. “Also watching film and seeing why the shots did not go in definitely helped fix that problem.”
Rowan would be down by eight going into the fourth quarter, but they were able to come back, and even took the lead with 2:35 left to go after Eliana Santana hit two free throws to put them up 40-39.
“We try to always have resiliency,” McLaughlin said. “We hope one spark can get everyone going.”
Despite the comeback, Rowan would not score again for the rest of the game, as Stockton closed the game with eight unanswered points. After ending the game on a cold spell, the team knows they need to improve upon that in order to close out games.
“We were rushing a lot,” McLaughlin said. “While we do want to get up court and have a fast pace offense, we do need to realize when we need to stop and run the offense because sometimes the easy layups are not there.”
With this loss, the Profs are now 2-3 on the young season and 0-1 in NJAC play. They will look to bounce back in their next game against Gwynedd Mercy on Monday, Nov. 27.