GLASSBORO, NJ – Sixth-seeded NJCU held off a late charge by Rowan to upset the third-seeded Profs, 83-79, in the NJAC Women’s Basketball Semifinals at Esby Gym. Nicole Mallard and Grace Marshall had 20 points apiece for the Profs (17-9) in a losing cause.
The Profs rallied from a 12-point deficit with less than four minutes to play to cut it to four, 77-73, with 1:54 to play on a three-pointer by Marshall. Mallard followed with a basket to bring Rowan within 77-75 at 1:28 but Damaris Rodriguez scored four of her game-high 25 to give NJCU an 81-75 cushion with 42 seconds remaining. The teams traded free throws and Dakota Adams had a basket at :25, but the Profs couldn’t convert on a sequence of three shots in the final 16 seconds.
Eliana Santana added 19 points and 11 rebounds to notch her third double-double of the season, with Dakota Adams adding 14 points and nine rebounds for the Profs.
At the start of the fourth, NJCU netted eight straight to build up its first 10-point lead of the game, 61-51. Marshall scored five straight of her own to pull Rowan back within, 61-56, but an 8-2 run by the visitors, capped by a three from Rodriguez, extended the lead back to double digits, 69-58.
In the third quarter, with the score tied at 37-37, the Profs rattled off seven straight, helped by a three-pointer from Mallard to go up 44-37. NJCU answered that with a 10-3 run to force a 47-47 tie before the teams traded leads the rest of the quarter with the Gothic Knights holding a 54-51 advantage at the end of the period.
Rowan had taken the early lead in the first quarter, 20-15, but cooled off in the second quarter and converted just 28 percent from the field to hold a 35-33 halftime lead.
NJCU made 12-of-21 three-pointers in the game, compared to 5-for-25 long-range shooting for the Profs.