Rowan women’s basketball defeats William Paterson to secure huge conference win

Nicole Mallard scans the defense. Mallard scored 13 points in the Profs' win over William Paterson. - Photo via Rowan Athletics

With only seven games remaining in the 2023-24 season, Rowan women’s basketball currently sits at the bottom of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) standings. Every game down the stretch is crucial.

Head Coach Kate Pearson’s team did not waste their latest opportunity, defeating the William Paterson Bears on Saturday, Jan. 20 in blowout fashion, 87-56. The win brought the Profs’ conference record to 6-5 and dropped the Bears’ NJAC record to 4-7. William Paterson is directly behind Rowan in the standings, so this was a very advantageous win for the Profs.

Rowan started slow, scoring only 30 points in the first half; however, thanks to a good half defensively, the Profs were able to go into the break with a 30-25 lead.

One of the main problems in the first half was turnovers, as the Profs had 13 against the Bears’ 2-3 zone defense.

“We were disappointed in our turnovers in the first half,” Nicole Mallard said. “We needed to get more inside touches against their zone.”

The lackluster first-half performance led to Pearson searching for improvement from her team.

“We talked to them about just performing better,” Pearson said. “William Paterson was playing hard and making things happen. We were a little bit reactive in the first half. We just wanted to translate what we were doing in practice into the game.”

The talk seemed to work, as Rowan came out on fire in the third quarter. It seemed like the Profs couldn’t miss coming out of the break, shooting 75% from the field and three-point range. The Profs also matched their first-half point total in the third quarter alone with 30 points.

Rowan made six threes in the third quarter and finished the game with 14, tying a program record for the most threes made in a game. One of the key things about the high volume of long-range shots was that they were not lucky enough to make it in the face of a defendermost of them were teammates creating open looks for each other.

“What was so good about the threes tonight was that they were inside outside or ball reversals, instead of one-pass threes,” Pearson said. “Knocking those down was helpful, but the key was the ball movement to get them.”

Rowan currently ranks number one in three-point percentage in the NJAC; the more open looks they get from beyond the arc, the better it will be for the team.

Another unique thing about this game was the variety of players on the team who scored. Twelve different players scored during the game, with seven of those players hitting threes, and four players scoring in double figures. It was an all-around team game and a team win.

“My biggest message to the team has been we have too many weapons for other teams to worry about,” Pearson said. “As long as we’re ready to play, we will be good.”

One of the keys to the team’s success is Mallard staying aggressive throughout the game. When the senior is driving into the lane, the defense collapses onto her, allowing open shots for her teammates.

“If I’m aggressive, things fall into place for the rest of the team,” Mallard said. “I’m also constantly trying to get to the free-throw line and make sure I’m in each play.”

All of the Profs’ remaining games are against NJAC opponents, making every game an important one for a team that wants a first-round playoff game. They will look to improve their standing against fourth-seeded The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) Lions on Wednesday, Jan. 24.

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