North Branch, NJ – The RVCC Women’s Basketball Team hosted Harcum College on Saturday February 9th in a Region XIX matchup. Raritan Valley would come away with the victory 77-70 in a hard fought and scrappy battle. The Lions dropped a close one to Harcum in the first semester, 62-56, so the team had this game circled on their schedule for a long time. The entire team fought hard to get the win they felt they should have previously.
RVCC came out of the gates strong and never trailed in the game. On their first offensive possession, a driving Precious Allah dropped a perfect pass to a cutting Moira Phillips who was able to finish and get the foul to put the Lions up 3-0. Some scrappy plays by the Lions and some key shots helped them to push the lead to 11 as they led 33-22 halfway through the second quarter. During that second quarter the Lions got a huge offensive push from their bench as Khayla Flemmings, Alison McGrath, and Lauren Armellino each connected on a three-point attempt. Flemmings and McGrath gave the Lions the offensive boost they needed and were very efficient, Flemmings finished with 6 and McGrath had 5. The Lions would take a 41-32 lead into halftime.
Having been up 8 against Harcum late in the game during their first matchup, the Lions knew the Bears weren’t going to give up. Harcum would cut the lead to 3 midway through the third quarter, but the Lions remained composed and responded immediately. Adrienne Amey made a great pass to Morenike Akinrefon who put the Lions back up 5. It was the crucial plays the Lions made that kept the Bears at bay. Finding themselves up 5 again with 7 minutes to play in the final frame Olivia Nilsen knocked down the second of her two triples on the night. Once again, Amey was the one credited with the assist.
The Lions finished with 25 field goals off 16 assists, a testament to the way they share the ball. However, it wasn’t the field goals that won them the game, it was the free throw line. The Lions got to the line a season high 39 times, with Precious Allah earning more than half of the attempts. The freshman point guard finished 12-20 on the night and went 9-14 from the charity stripe in the final 8 minutes of the game. With each possession being more valuable than the last, Allah took the game over for the Lions and controlled the game the way they needed her to. Allah finished with a team high 20 points and 5 dimes. Morenike Akinrefon came up huge for the Lions down the stretch as she finished with 15 points and 8 boards on the night. Her fellow big man, Moira Phillips, also pulled down 8 boards to go with her 6 points. Adrienne Amey had 5 assists, 12 points, and 3 steals. Amey has been a predator on the defensive end the entire season and currently ranks in the top 50 in the entire country averaging 3.0 steals per game. Nilsen was the final Lion in double figures as, she finished with 10 points to go along with her 7 boards and 3 assists.
While there were certainly huge plays that helped the Lions pull off the win it was a combination of all the little things that secured their victory. It was Phillips constantly boxing out, Amey keeping her hands in the passing lanes, Akinrefon snatching offensive rebounds, Armellino winning battles with opponents twice her size, McGrath turning loose balls into points, Nilsen fighting for rebounds, Sonia Guiste fearlessly attacking the paint, Flemmings finishing clutch layups, and Allah willing her team to win.
This was the Lions first win over Harcum College in the past 10 seasons. The Lions have now beaten Harcum and Lackawanna in the same season for the first time in over a decade. The win improves the Lions to 19-7 on the year. The Lions will host Essex County College on Tuesday February 12that 5 P.M.