For the second straight season and for the second time since 2006, the Rowan women’s basketball has opened the season with at least five straight wins without a loss.
Last season the Profs were able to rattle off eight straight before suffering their first loss.
“I think it’s definitely focus. I mean for me, this is my third year, I know what it takes to push through these games. We know these teams even though they’ve lost and gained players throughout the years,” junior guard Anyssa Sanchez said. “Even starting with practices, coming in focused and knowing our goals going into games, that definitely puts us ahead of our competition.”
Having an experienced team that features two juniors and three graduate students in the starting lineup has proven to be helpful for the Profs.
“It’s like an extra set of teachers on the court,” head coach Gabby Lisella said. “They’ve been through it, they’re familiar with it, they can help the younger players adjust more quickly.
That focus was evident in their last two games against Immaculata University and Stockton University.
Rowan led Immaculata by 25 at the halfway mark, and ended up defeating the Mighty Macs by 40 on the way to a 99-59 rout.
Against New Jersey Athletic Conference foe Stockton, the Profs needed overtime, but were able to outscore the Ospreys 17-9 in extra time to win 97-89 and get their first conference win of the 2015-16 season.
“We hope to keep that up. Certainly the style we play is a fast paced style of play, we really want to push the tempo so it lends to that,” Lisella said. “Along with our pressure defense that we play, if we’re able to get teams to turn it over, that gets us more possessions which gives us more opportunities to score.”
Leading the Profs in their first NJAC game was graduate student Kate Matthews, who registered her third double-double of the season with 23 points and 14 rebounds. During that game three other Rowans players scored in double figures.
“It’s kind of hard to shut down five, six, or seven different people,” Lisella said. “We have the ability for that many people to step up each night depending on who’s hot and who we’re playing.”
On the season, three out of the five players in the starting lineup are averaging more than 10 points a game.
“I think that’s the great thing about our team, that we don’t have that one star player that’s scoring 30 points a game,” Matthews said. “Even our bench we have a bunch of consistent players that contribute to the team. So that really makes us different from other teams. We’re all equal.”
It could be the veteran experience or multiple scoring options that have helped the Profs get out to a 5-0 start, but according to Sanchez it’s something else.
“I’d say that it’s the bond. A lot of teams I’ve been on we’ve had a strong bond but it’s taken some time. With this team it’s something that stood out to me. The fact that we want it and we’re able to hang out with each other on and off the floor,” Sanchez said. “That builds a bond over time. This being my third year and Kate and the other grad students that’s just so much time that you don’t realize until you look back and you’re just like, this is why we’re so close and why we know each other so well on the floor.”