WAYNE, NJ – The Rowan University women's basketball team is off to its best conference start (8-0) since the 1997-98 season after an 81-59 win at William Paterson University on Wednesday night.
Rowan trailed 44-41 with 9:01 to play in the third quarter then went on a 17-5 run to take a 58-49 lead and never looked back. The Profs are 14-1 overall, their best overall beginning to a season since they began the 1999-00 campaign 19-1. The Pioneers are 8-7 overall and they have a 4-4 New Jersey Athletic Conference mark.
Rowan had five players in double figures. Guard Anyssa Sanchez (jr. Stratford, NJ/Sterling) scored 14 points and had seven rebounds. Guard/forward Melissa Lake (gr. Marlton, NJ/Cherokee) tallied 13 points and eight boards. Guard/forward Kaitlin Schullstrom (gr. Colts Neck, NJ/Colts Neck) contributed with 11 points and seven rebounds.
Guard/forwards Ashanti Bishop (jr. South Plainfield, NJ/South Plainfield) and Alex Raring (so. Linwood, NJ/Mainland Reg.) each recorded 10 points off the bench. Guard Summer Crilley (so. Galloway, NJ/Holy Spirit) added nine points and forward Kate Matthews (gr. Clark, NJ/Arthur L. Johnson) had eight points and seven rebounds.
For William Paterson, guard Brittany Harden (sr. Millville, NJ/Sacred Heart) collected 14 points, six rebounds and five assists. Forward Sadi Bridgeman (sr. Washington Heights, NY/Mother Cabrini) scored 11 points. Forward Ariana Gomez (so. Garfield, NJ/Garfield) and guard Jackie Rodriguez (so. Sayreville, NJ/Sayreville War Mem.) had eight points apiece.
William Paterson got out to a 7-2 lead (7:13) then Sanchez tallied the next six points to put Rowan ahead 8-7 (6:59). The Pioneers recorded five straight to retake the lead (12-8) with 5:53 to play. The Profs then used a 7-0 run to take a 15-12 advantage (3:15). A layup by forward Alex Milne (sr. Howell, NJ/Howell) made the score 17-16 (0:39). Rowan scored the final five points of the quarter on a Crilley layup (0:19), a jumper by guard Valerie Garofalo (jr. Ventnor, NJ/Holy Spirit) (0:11) and a Crilley free throw (0:03). The Profs held a 22-16 lead after one.
Rowan was in front 26-21 after a Matthews' layup with 7:36 remaining in the second quarter. William Paterson scored seven straight to take a 28-26 lead (5:41). The Pioneers went ahead 32-31 on a pair of free throws by Harden (3:52). Crilley (3:21) and Sanchez (2:20) made consecutive baskets for a 35-32 Rowan lead. The teams traded baskets in the final two minutes and guard Ashley Giordano's (fr. Wood-ridge, NJ/Wood-ridge) layup as time expired made the score 39-38 Profs at the half.
William Paterson took a 44-41 advantage with 9:01 on the clock in the third. Rowan then went on a 17-5 run to take it largest lead, 58-49 at the 55-second mark. Schullstrom collected seven points, Lake had six and Crilley added four. Harden made a layup (0:43) to cut the deficit to seven (58-51), but Raring nailed a triple (0:31) to give Rowan a 61-51 cushion going into the fourth.
The Profs scored the first 18 points of the fourth, including six points each by Raring and Bishop. Rowan held a 76-51 advantage with 6:25 to play. The Profs held the Pioneers to just one field goal in the final period and eight points overall.
Next, Rowan hosts Rutgers-Newark on Saturday, Jan. 16 at 1 p.m.