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Lions defeat the Kean Cougars to clinch the 4th seed, playoff home game on Saturdayurd

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By Anthony Caruso III on February 19, 2015, 12:33 AM EST

Ewing, NJ – The College of New Jersey women’s basketball team defeated the Kean Cougars, 72-54, tonight at Packer Hall. This is the Lions sixth straight win.

They will next be in action this Saturday against the William Paterson Pioneers at 1 pm at Packer Hall. TCNJ won both games against Willy P this season and will be looking for their third in the NJAC tournament.

Angelica Esposito (Photo by TCNJ Sports Information)

Angelica Esposito (Photo by TCNJ Sports Information)

“One of the differences I see is in the beginning or the middle, we would make a mistake and just over analyze it and just get so mad at ourselves and make more mistakes,” coach Dawn Henderson said. “We’re still making mistakes, but we’re coming back playing harder instead of staying focused on mistakes, we’re playing through things.”

Angelica Esposito led the Lions attack with 23 points, while Kelly Coughlin had 16 points and Jessica Goldbach had 11. Kylie O’Donnell had seven, while Jess Lynch had six and Christina Merlin added five.

Nikki Schott contributed four points for the home team.

Freshman Najha Treadwell had a game-high 24 points, while AnnaRose Pierre added 12. Jazmine David scored eight points, while Mikeera Brown added four.

Jaquetta Owens had three, while Kenya Adams scored two. Shay Collins had a point.

At one point, Treadwell outscored the home team 8-2 to cut the lead to 53-45. Esposito and Merlin scored to make it 57-45, before Brown made it 57-47. Coughlin would put it to 12, before ending the game with an 18 point lead.

“She’s a great player, we have to play against her for three more years, she’s a team player and she finishes when she’s close to the basket, before playing us, she had 114 offensive rebounds and that’s tough,” Henderson said. “They have other kids that can do things, but we played in a zone to take that away, they wanted to drive and dish and stuff, so when we played well in transition and didn’t let them get into the paint, they had a hard time with what they were doing.”

The Lions would make it over 10 points at 40-30. Davis would cut it to 8 points at 40-32, before Esposito connected on a three-pointer to make it 43-32. Seconds later, the lead would grow to 15 points at 48-35.

After the break, TCNJ scored back-to-back baskets, before Treadwell made it 34-26 following two straight baskets of her own. Kean could make it 38-30 following a Pierre basket, which was the first time the lead was under 10 since 27-21.

“You know she’s a good player, but it was still hard to defend her when they kept lobbing it to her, she just makes them all,” Esposito said.

Kean would score three straight baskets to make it 27-21, before Esposito hit a three-pointer with seconds remaining. That gave the Lions a 30-21 going into the break.

“My teammates did a good job of getting me the ball, we tried to run our plays, but they were cheating up on everything so we were getting a lot of backdoor cuts, I know (Schott) and couple of the forwards made good passes, so that helped,” Esposito said of her performance.

Treadwell and David baskets made it 21-16 until Coughlin scored twice and Schott scored to make it 27-16. Kean would make it 15-12, before the Lions would score three straight baskets to make it 21-12.

Following a TCNJ timeout, the home team would go on a 7-0 run to jump out to a 15-8 lead, before Treadwell scored to make it 15-10. The Lions would go on a 7-2 run to make it 8-2, before Kean would tie the game at 8-8 with a Pierre basket.

The Cougars had their only lead of the half at 2-1 just minutes into the game.

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