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Lions lose heart-breaker to the Cougars

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EWING — The College of New Jersey women’s basketball team had a chance to realize their goal of winning the NJAC Championship. As their season came to an end, so did their hopes of winning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The Lions lost to Kean University, 70-61, at Packer Hall on Friday evening. There was about a thousand people in attendance.

This is the Cougars second straight NJAC Championship, and their 12th in program history. Their first championship came in 1982-83.

Kean also improved to 25-3 overall, and also snapped the Lions eight game win streak. TCNJ dropped to 21-6.

The Cougars also improved to 2-1 in their season series with the Lions.

Kean also had five players in double digits. Two of the five players also had double-doubles.

The team was led by Melissa Beyruti, who had 17 points. Chari’ Cooper added 11 points and 18 rebounds.

The reigning champs had a commanding 36-19 lead at halftime. Cardiss Jackson also had 10 points.

They would open the second half with a demanding 20-point lead. The Lions would be able to pull within eight points with the score at 53-45 with 9:55 left in the game.

However, the Cougars would answer right away and get the score back up to 15 points at 60-45.

The game would go back down to eight points at 63-55 with 2:02 left, before the game ended with a 70-61 score.

Kean also had 10 points and four steals from Ebony Jackson. She also set the school’s record with 465.

The Lions center Hillary Klimowicz established a new career-high 28 points. She also had 17 rebounds for her 20th double-double of the season.

Just ten days ago, she set her previous career-high with 24 points.

Sara Best, a senior, finished with 11 points, and now has 718 in her career. Kelsey Kutch had eight points and 10 rebounds, while handing out four assists.

Now, the team hope to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III tournament on March 3rd.

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