By Maximillian C. Burgos | Contributing Writer
EWING, NJ — Both teams, the Rutgers-Newark Scarlet Raiders and The College of New Jersey Lions had losing records coming into the game.But the Scarlet Raiders defeated the Lions 52-38 at Packer Hall on Wednesday night.
The Lions came to an end, as they fell to 11-13. The Scarlet Raiders improved to 10-15 — and they clinched a spot in the New Jersey Athletic Conference Tournament with a tiebreaker.
Rutgers-Newark jumped out to a 13-5 lead. Then, they had a hard time trying to recover, as they scored a season-low 38 points. Their previous low was 40 points against the Rutgers-Camden Scarlet Raptors in January 2017.
Rutgers-Newark had standout performances from Maria Simmons and Faith Ashby. Simmons had 20 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, a block and seven steals. Ashby added 14 points, six rebounds, and six steals.
Simmons scored just above her season average of 18.2 points per game. Six of her points came off of steals. Both Simmons and Ashby are among the Top Ten scoring leaders in the NJAC.
Chiara Palombi scored 17 points for the Lions. She also had eight rebounds and a steal.
Palombi was the only TCNJ player in double-figures. Nikki Schott also had eight points, five rebounds an assist.
The rest of their teammates could only muster 13 points.
The Lions struggled early on in the game missing some open shots that would have been easy points. Normally stats do not mean everything but, the Lions shot for 26.4%, way below their season average of 36.4%. The Lions also faltered in their three-point shooting.
Their season average in three-point shooting was about 31.6%. In this game; however, they were only 5.3% shooting threes. That is a rough start no matter how it is put.
The Lions also struggled with their turnovers. The Lions gave the ball up 27 times and only forced 16 turnovers. Season turnover margin before the game was -3.4. In this game alone it was -9.
Not many teams can overcome that many turnovers in a game. However, the Lions didn’t do all bad. As a positive note, they did do better than Rutgers-Newark on the charity line and they did have 11 more rebounds at the end of the game.
Also, the game marked the end of long-time head coach Dawn Henderson’s career. She announced her retirement in November – and it will take effect in June while Wednesday night was her final game coaching the team.
She arrived at then-Trenton State College in 1993 and called the campus home ever since. During her tenure, she has gone 482-254 – the winningest coach in school history.