UNION, N.J. (2/22/17) – The Kean University women's basketball team dropped its NJAC semifinal matchup with Rutgers-Newark 77-71 on Wednesday night. Kenya Adams posted a double-double with 12 points and 16 rebounds in the game for the Cougars.
Kean was trailing for the first five minutes, until Marajiah Bacon splashed a three-pointer from the corner and stole the ensuing inbounds pass to flip the lead to Kean. Ruby Asabor had a second-chance bucket a minute later that forced a Rutgers timeout. In all, there were three ties and four lead changes in the opening quarter, which ended with Kean holding a 19-16 lead.
Bacon and Jaquetta Owens came alive in the second quarter, with nine and seven points, respectively, in those 10 minutes as Kean extended its lead to 43-38 at the break.
Perhaps the most impressive performance of the first period belonged to Adams (pictured left), who had secured a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds by the break. Shala Glenn led the Scarlet Raiders with 10 points and six rebounds in the first half.
Late in the third quarter, Rutgers-Newark engineered a 7-0 run to knot the game at 55-all. Faith Ashby and Maria Simmons had six points each in the period to help Rutgers pull even with the Cougars. Owens and Bacon assisted each other on layups to give Kean a one-bucket lead heading into the fourth.
Newark rallied to tie the score at 64 with six minutes remaining. After a six combined fruitless possessions – which included an impressive block by De'Mean Bond – Owens hit a go-ahead layup with under five minutes to go.
A minute later, Autumn Webster hit a trey for Newark that gave them a one-point lead. With less than three minutes to go, Bond completed a three-point play the old-fashioned way to give Kean its last lead. After a missed shot and Kean rebound, Simmons made an excellent individual play to pick off a pass and score a transition layup to give Rutgers a one-point lead and spark the winning rally.
Ashby hit two free throws down the stretch to cap another 7-0 Rutgers run. The Scarlet Raiders' biggest lead of the night would prove to be the final margin – six points. Kean was outscored 20-12 in the fourth quarter.
Dual double-doubles by Simmons (25p, 11r) and Glenn (18, 13) powered the sixth-seeded Raiders to the upset and a berth in the NJAC Championship Game. The title tilt will be played at No. 1 seed Montclair State University on Saturday. The Scarlet Raiders are now 12-15 overall.
The Cougars will finish the season 16-10 overall and 13-5 in the conference.