Ospreys escape Packer Hall with a win

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

EWING — The College of New Jersey Lions fell short in their comeback effort on Wednesday night. They lost 69-59 to the Stockton University Ospreys at Packer Hall.

“It was an awesome effort and I’m really proud of them,” Lions head coach Dawn Henderson said. “To lose Nikki (Schott), their strength is where we’re fighting injuries. I wish we didn’t spot them so many points in the beginning, because we could have played better, but what a great comeback. They worked hard and we rebounded the ball. It was all really good.”

Chiara Palombi (Photo by TCNJ Sports Information Department)

Chiara Palombi (Photo by TCNJ Sports Information Department)

The Ospreys — who lost to the Lions when they were the No. 23-ranked team in Nov. 2016 — improved to 13-5. The Lions fell to 8-10.

Entering the fourth quarter, TCNJ was down 16-points. Then, Chiara Palombi scored eight-points in their game-high 21-point quarter, including three straight baskets for her team. Following a layup by Palombi, she cut the lead to 58-54 at 2:39 left in the game.

“I really didn’t even notice that I had made three in a row,” she said. “I got the rebound and put it back up. I was excited to be out there and I felt like we were getting the momentum going in our favor once again.”

The Ospreys ended the game with a 10-5 run.

The Lions were down by as much as 18-points in the third quarter. Sasha Williams made a layup as the Ospreys went up 49-31.

The home team was behind as much as 16 points in the first half. At 1:54 in the second quarter, April Peterson made a free throw, as Stockton went up 38-22.

“We’ve had some adversity,” Henderson said. “We lost Jen [Byrne], who was our leading scorer, and we now lost Nikki, who is done for a while. I felt they were a little timid in the beginning then they showed some heart, which is really, really important.”

Williams and Lea Mendolla led the Ospreys with 15 points. Williams also had 12 rebounds, three assists, three blocks and two steals. Mendola also had a rebound, three assists and two steals.

Najha Treadwell contributed 14 points and six rebounds.

“It’s always good to have good competition,” Palombi said. “It’s fun and I like playing against other good bigs. It’s definitely tough, but it’s a lot of fun. She’s a good player and it was good playing against her.”

Fellow starters Taylor Christina and Francesca Gervato combined for 10 points. Christina also had three assists and Gervato added two rebounds, four assists and a steal.

Mendolla made three three-pointers from beyond the arc. Christina added two more three-pointers, while Mikila Stefanski also made a three-pointer.

Stockton had 14 bench points. Peterson led these players with eight points and five rebounds.

Charlotte Schum led the Lions with 13 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and two steals. Palombi had 11 points, seven rebounds, one block and one steal. Kate O’Leary and Katy Amato had eight points each.

O’Leary also had five rebounds and six assists. Amato also had two rebounds and two blocks.

“We lost a big player with Nikki Schott last week so I tried to step up my game,” Palombi said of her performance. “I wanted to really help my team. I want to do the best I can to help our team reach our goals.”

Fellow starter Kim Dana also had three points. She also had two rebounds, five assists and two steals.

Schum made three three-pointers, including a three-point basket as time expired. Cindy Napolitano made two three-pointers, while Dana and O’Leary each made a three-pointer.

TCNJ had 16 bench points. Christine Woods and Napolitano led these players with six points each. Woods also had three rebounds, an assist and a block. Napolitano also had two rebounds.

Any Corrections?. You can contact Anthony at publisher@thecapitalsportsreport.com.

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