GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP - The Richard Stockton College women's basketball team opened the season Tuesday with a special achievement.
Stockton pulled away to a 76-48 win over visiting Kean University, breaking a 13-game losing streak to the Cougars that went back to the 2005-2006 season.
Senior Che'Na Thompson, a 5-foot-8 guard/forward, led Stockton with 20 points, and also had six rebounds and a game-high four steals.
Senior guard Sarah Gibbs, a former Ocean City High School standout, scored 13 points and dished out a career-high 10 assists in her first game as an Osprey. Gibbs transferred from Manhattanville College (N.Y.).
Sophomore Alex Nardoza, a 5-10 guard/forward, scored a career-high 13 points. Nardoza made 7-of-8 free throws in the second half. Kelsey Brown, Stockton's tallest player at 6-2, added 12 points, six rebounds and a game-high four blocks.
It was a late start to the season for the Ospreys. Kean fell to 1-2.
"We'e very happy to start out with a win. We had 28 practices to get ready," Stoctkon coach Joe Fussner said. "We would have much rather start off with a tip-off tournament, but it that didn't work out. We'll make that up during the season."
Kean is on probation from the New Jersey Athletic Conference and is also banned this year from the postseason due to NCAA rule violations. The Cougars are rebuilding, with four sophomore starters, including Shay Collins, an Atlantic City High School graduate who had five rebounds.
"Kean is currently going through a lot in transition," Fussner said. "They're very athletic, and it's nice to be able to be able to hold your own against them."
Thompson shot 8-of-14 from the field and had five assists.
"I'm very happy because I've never beaten (Kean)," said Thompson, a Salem resident. "It was an accomplishment for myself and the whole team. I was a little surprised. They play a run and gun, and they did that today too, but their talent and youth were exposed."
Gibbs was 3-of-4 in 3-point attempts and also had five rebounds.
"I felt great," said Gibbs, a resident of Ocean View in Upper Township. "We've had a lot of practices, and when you spend that much time together you get chemistry. We're happy to play a game. I didn't even know the assists was a career high until they just told me. I don't pay much attention to stats."
Stockton built a 13-5 lead in the opening minutes as Gibbs scored seven points and Thompson had four. The Ospreys' lead increased to 10 points at 23-13 and 25-15. Caitlin Orlando hit Kean's only 3-pointer with more than two minutes before halftime to cut the lead to 25-18, but Stockton freshman Ta'Yon Morgan-Jones hit a basket which started a 13-2 Ospreys run that went into the second half.
Kean's top player was 5-foot-6 sophomore AnnaRose Pierre, who scored 30 points, mostly with drives to the basket. Pierre, who also had a game-high 15 rebounds, scored 20 of her team's 28 points in the second half.
Stockton's next game is on Nov. 28 with a 6 p.m. game at The College of New Jersey in Ewing Township.
Contact Guy Gargan:
Kean 20 28-48
Richard Stockton 33 43 76
K-Jones 3 0-0 6, Collins 0 0-0 0, Sager 0 1-5 1, Pierre 13 4-9 30, Williams 0 0-0 0, Lowe 3 0-0 6, Orlando 1 0-2 3, Mangiafico 1 0-0 2. Totals-21 5-16 48.
RS-Gibbs 5 0-4 13, Nardoza 3 7-8 13, Ryan 2 1-2 6, Thompson 8 4-6 20, Brown 6 0-2 12, Muniz 2 0-0 6, Nickel 1 0-1 2, Galamb 0 0-0 0, Farrell 1 0-0 2, Morgan-Jones 1 0-0 2. Totals-29 12-23 76.
3-pointers-Orlando K. Gibbs (3), Muniz (2), Ryan RS.
Records-Stockton 1-0; Kean 1-2.