UNION, N.J. - The Lewis & Clark women's basketball team pulled out a hard fought 59-58 victory on Saturday afternoon in New Jersey, as the Pioneers took on Oneonta State in their first game of the Kean Tournament.
The win improves the Pioneers to 2-0 on the season, while Oneonta State falls to 0-2.
Junior Kristina Williams led the Pioneers with 14 points, while pulling down a team-leading eight rebounds. Neva Hauser ended the day with 11 points and six rebounds for the Pioneers, while Tayler Wang scored 10 points for the Pios.
The Red Dragons were led by Samantha Szkotak who led all players with 21 points. Szkotak was also the team's leading rebounder, pulling down nine boards, while Sarah Longto finished with eight.
It took Oneonta State, who nearly made the NCAA tournament last season, just 10 seconds to get on the board in the first half on a Madison Slagle jumper. Williams captured a 3-2 lead for the Pioneers three minutes later with an assist from Margaret Dowling.
The lead change was one of three in the half, which also saw the score tied three times. The Pioneer bench played a huge role in the first half, contributing 12 of the teams 30 points, compared to the Red Dragon's five bench points.
Daron Dean and Katie Anderson, along with Williams, helped the Pioneers run up a 10 point, 15-5, advantage with 11:34 remaining in the half. The Red Dragons came surging back over the next four minutes, scoring 14 unanswered points to take a 19-15 lead.
Gabi Regan earned Oneonta State its largest lead of the half with 6:26 remaining after hitting a three pointer to make the score 24-17.
Following a Lewis & Clark timeout, the Pioneers regrouped and pushed the tempo, while also hitting the boards hard. After assisting on a Pio layup, junior Sara Villanueva stole the ball from the Red Dragons and took it down court for a quick score. Villanueva then became the Pioneers go-to rebounder, pulling down several missed shots, before pulling the Pios within one with a successful free-throw.
Williams recaptured the lead for Lewis & Clark with 4:37 on the clock after being set-up by a Wang steal. Szkotak tied the contest with just over a minute remaining in the half. The two sides appeared to be heading into the locker room tied, but a Red Dragon foul sent sophomore Kathlene Howe to the free-throw line, where she successfully drained both of her shots to earn the Pios a 30-28 lead.
Just like the first half, the Red Dragons quickly put the ball in the basket to earn the first points of the half. Back-to-back Szkotak free-throws handed the Red Dragons the lead once again. The two teams would tied the score six times in the opening 12 minutes of the second half before the Pioneers racked up a seven point, 54-47, lead with 4:39 remaining in the game after a Howe layup.
Slagle earned the lead back for Oneonta State with 34 seconds on the clock with a good jumper. With time quickly slipping Hauser knocked down a clutch three-point shot with 24 seconds remaining to earn a 57-55 Pioneer lead. Hauser followed her shot with back-to-back free-throws with seven seconds remaining to give Lewis & Clark a 59-55 lead.
The Red Dragons nearly sent the game into overtime after an Alyshia Crawford three pointer that pulled Oneonta State within one point with one second remaining in the game.
Lewis & Clark returns to the court on Sunday, Nov. 20 at 1 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) against tournament host Kean.