Pioneer women’s basketball suffers heartbreaking loss to TCNJ

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Stephen Bologna, Sports Editor

On Saturday, Feb. 24, the Pioneers were defeated by the TCNJ Lions 67-59 in an overtime thriller.

This matchup was the opening round of the New Jersey Athletic Conference championship. This is their first tournament appearance since 2017.

The Pioneers finish the season with an 11-15 record, but a 9-9 conference record, which gave them the number 5 seed in the tournament.

Coming into Saturday, the Lady Pioneers defeated the same Lions team last Wednesday, ensuring a great deal of momentum, heading down to face them in the highly anticipated first-round matchup.

It was a back and forth game from that opening tip. The Pioneers strong start led them to a 25-19 halftime lead. They were only 20 minutes away from moving to the second round, somewhere they haven’t been in nearly 4 seasons.

The Pioneers held a nine-point lead halfway through the second quarter.

After a neck and neck third and fourth quarter, the Pioneers held a four-point lead with two minutes to play. In the closing seconds of the game, TCNJ’s leading scorer, Shannon Devitt, sunk the game-tying basket, sending the game into overtime notched up at 57.

The Pioneers were only able to muster up two points in overtime, sending TCNJ to the semifinals. It was a true heartbreaker for the Pioneers, as they fought the entire game.

Junior Brianna Brooks had one of the best games of her career with an unbelievable 18 point and 19 rebounds stat line, while also providing a strong defense.

She fouled out early in the overtime period.

Freshman Yakira Rosa added 15 points and 5 rebounds to the game.

Alison Mcbride and Justina Cabezas also added to the success with four rebounds each.

For the Lions, Guard Elle Cimillucca provided 21 points, 5 assists, and 6 rebounds in the win, while shooting 3-4 from beyond the arc, which sparked the Lions comeback.

With this loss, WPUNJ Senior guard’s Alisa Giordano and Kye Adams played their final game in a Pioneer uniform. Both players with a fantastic 2019-2020 season and career at WP.

The Pioneers have most of the roster returning for next season.