Rowan women’s basketball celebrated Senior Day on Sat., Feb. 3 for three soon-to-be graduates Nicole Mallard, Eliana Santana, and Savanna Holt. The three seniors were joined by their families as they walked across the floor to see their coach and take some photos.
“It was very emotional, I was trying hard not to cry,” Santana said. “I am very appreciative of my coach, teammates, parents, and all the fans.”
These three players have all been leaders and great contributors to the Profs during their time at Rowan and deserved their day to be honored.
“It was nice to be honored,” Mallard said. “I feel like I have been here forever. It was really nice to have my friends and family here to celebrate with me. They decorated the gym, [and] we really appreciated and honored them.”
After the pregame ceremonies, Rowan still had a game to play against the fourth-place Kean Cougars. The Profs were able to pick up a huge 74-65 win, a battle that was close throughout. The victory was a crucial one for the Profs, as they are still holding onto the sixth and final playoff spot in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC). Picking up a win against one of the hardest teams that remain on their schedule will certainly be a big confidence boost going forward.
Santana dominated the paint early on in the game. The Cougars had no answers for her down low, with their only two options being to foul her or give her an easy bucket.
“She gave us a spark when we needed it,” Mallard said. “You could tell she was driven. It is senior day. It is my last year. The spark to start the game definitely helped us.”
Leading the way the rest of the game was Mallard, who thrived in every aspect of the game, finishing with 20 points, two rebounds, two steals, and one block. The senior has had a recent run of success as she knows her time with the team is coming to an end.
“Nicole did everything well today,” Santana said. “She was scoring, rebounding, and getting defensive stops, she literally did everything.”
On top of individual performances, the Profs are soaring higher than ever, as they are in the midst of a three-game winning streak, all against NJAC opponents.
“I think it’s really good for the confidence of the players,” Head Coach Kate Pearson said. “We have the talent to compete with most teams in the conference.”
Going forward, expect the Profs to use as many of their players as possible in their rotations throughout the game.
“We have a lot of weapons,” Mallard said. “Coach brings a lot of people off the bench, everyone off the bench is capable of playing well. Teams don’t know who can go off for this team. It could be me, E [Santana], Kate [Herlihy], Sabrina [Araujo], we have so many that can do different things, so it can be hard to scout and guard us sometimes.”
Rowan will look to extend its winning streak to four on Wednesday, Feb. 7, when the New Jersey City University (NJCU) Gothic Knights, who currently sit in second place in the NJAC, come to Esby Gym.