Stockton Advances to NJAC Semifinals, 61-54

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Galloway, NJ – Stockton University (21-5) weathered a fourth-quarter surge by Rutgers Camden (15-10) and advanced to the semifinals of the NJAC tournament with 61-54 victory on Saturday afternoon. Sasha Williams (Cherry Hill/CH West) led the Ospreys to victory, tying her career-high with 22 points and adding 17 rebounds and eight blocked shots while playing all 40 minutes.

The Scarlet Raptors jumped out early on the home team, outscoring Stockton 12-6 in the first 5:56 before the Ospreys got going on offense. Stockton ended the first quarter on a 10-3 run to take a 16-15 lead after one period. Williams tallied eight points and blocked four shots in the stanza.

The Osprey defense clamped down during the second quarter as they allowed just six points by the visitors to grab a 28-21 advantage going into the break. Five markers by Lea Mendolla (Nutley/Mt. St. Dominic) in the period helped Stockton to the seven-point cushion. Stockton went just 1-10 from three-point range in the half but held Rutgers-Camden to 22 percent (9-41) from the floor.

Rutgers-Camden began the third period with a 7-2 run to close the gap to two points at 30-28 before Stockton answered with seven straight points to widen the spread to 37-28. Williams (four points) and Mendolla (three points) did all of the scoring during the surge. The Ospreys eventually grabbed a double-digit lead at 45-35 on a layup byApril Peterson (Lafayette/High Point) before settling for a 45-37 margin after three periods.

The contest took a tense turn for Stockton as the Scarlet Raptors rattled off 12 consecutive points to begin the final quarter, culminating with two foul shots by Cara Racobaldo for a 47-45 lead. Shaqui Coppage (Salem/Salem) quieted the run, hitting three of four free throws to put the Ospreys back on top 48-47 with 6:14 remaining.

The two squads battled back and forth before forging the seventh and final tie of the day, 51-51 at the four-minute mark. A jumper by Najha Treadwell (Cinnaminson/Cinnaminson) and two free throws by Taylor Christina(Franklinville/Delsea) gave Stockton a 55-51 edge 1:38 to play.

Gabby Greene answered with a three-pointer to cut the Osprey lead to one. A Williams jumper and two free throws each by Lauren Bowler (Little Silver/Red Bank Regional) and then Treadwell accounted for the last six points of the game as Stockton prevailed 61-54.

Williams sank her first six field goal attempts and finished 8-10 from the floor plus 6-8 from the charity stripe. Mendolla added 13 points as the only other Osprey in double figures and dished a team-high three assists.

Kamari Talley topped the visitors with 19 points and 13 rebounds while Greene chipped in with 16 points, including 4-8 from behind the arc. Caroline Santiago grabbed 10 boards for the Scarlet Raptors.

Stockton will travel to No. 2 seed Rowan University for an NJAC semifinal game on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.