CAMDEN, New Jersey – Nina branchizio landed all of their shots – including five from beyond the arc – to kick the TCNJ women’s basketball team to their fourth straight victory, 73-49 at Rutgers-Camden on Wednesday night.
The rookie went 6 for 6 on the field and snatched a season-high 17 points in just 16 minutes of play for the Lions (4-3, 2-0), who went undefeated in the NJAC game. . Izzy Leazier added a career-high 11 points and Arianna McCleod scored 10 points on his first career start to help TCNJ claim their ninth consecutive series victory.
The Lions wasted no time building a sizable lead, scoring the game’s first six points after Branchizio buried a 3-pointer in the game’s first possession. The margin went to double digits (16-6) on a free throw from Leazier, and Morgan heller fault jumper on a power supply Nikki Alexatos beat the buzzer to give TCNJ a 20-6 advantage after a period.
The Lions were leading up to 18 points in the second quarter, when McCleod knocked down a 3-runner after a Heller kickoff to make it 26-8 about two minutes into the stanza. The pace of goals slowed considerably for the remainder of the half, which ended with TCNJ up 31-16.
The Scarlet-Raptors were effective 5-9 on the field in the first half, but the teeming Lions defense forced a turnaround on nearly half of the team’s 30 possessions in the first 30 minutes. TCNJ held Rutgers-Camden scoreless for the final four minutes of the first quarter and made 14 long-range attempts in the first half, sinking five of them.
Rutgers-Camden’s turnover problems continued into the second half, and Branchizio and his company made the hosts pay. TCNJ was a sizzling 10-for-15 in the third quarter, including a 5-for-8 rating in a 3-point range.
Branchizio was unleashed early in the second half, embarking on a personal series of 11 consecutive Lions points, including 3 points on three of five trips to the ground. His fifth and final trey of the night was part of a 16-2 run that ended in a steal and layup by Julia setaro, giving TCNJ a 50-22 lead in the middle of the period.
Leazier was 3-for-4 on the field and the foul line for the Lions, who made 11 3-points to just two for the Scarlet Raptors.
McCleod added six rebounds, four steals and three assists to his stat line, while Heller produced seven points. Isabelle Cafaro, Jezlyn Cross, Jordan Herwood, and Emilie Toy had five points each, and Alexatos coupled four points with four steals.
TCNJ returns to Packer Hall to entertain Montclair State in an NJAC showdown on Saturday.