The Montclair State women’s basketball team’s current crop of seniors – comprised of Sage Bennett, Rachel Krauss, Zoe Curtis and Erica Snow – have been wildly successful by any measure: three consecutive New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) appearances, a Final Four run in the NCAA DIII Tournament and a 102-14 overall record according to Montclair Athletics.
On Saturday, the four seniors earned their time in the spotlight as a part of Senior Day. After the opening ceremonies, complete with flowers and pictures, the Red Hawks went on to defeat The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), 56-47.
Montclair State trailed TCNJ for the majority of the first quarter. The Lions’ defense clamped down on the Red Hawks – a flashback to when TCNJ held Montclair State to 25.4 percent shooting in their first matchup of the season.
The Red Hawks’ shooting woes ended in the second quarter. Montclair State trailed 16-13 entering the quarter, but sophomore guard Kiarra Dillard initiated an onslaught from beyond the arc and tied the game at 16-16. Krauss knocked down a three during the Red Hawks’ next trip down the court, and then hit another three minutes later to expand Montclair State’s lead to 22-18.
But, Krauss’s three-point spree didn’t end there. Krauss added one more three in the quarter and ended the first half with a game-high 9 points. Montclair State held TCNJ to just 5 points in the quarter and went into the second half leading 30-21.
The Red Hawks and the Lions traded baskets to begin the second half but Bennett nailed a three to put Montclair State ahead 37-27 – forcing TCNJ to take a timeout 5:51 left in the third quarter. Minutes later, it was Dillard who hit a three of her own and forced the Lions to take another timeout.
Hot three-point shooting helped Montclair State take a 49-32 lead into the game’s final quarter. TCNJ outscored the Red Hawks 15-4 to open the fourth quarter, but the Montclair State held TCNJ scoreless in the game’s final three minutes. The women’s basketball team ultimately avenged their first loss of the season and secured a 56-47 victory on Senior Day.
Montclair State will finish the 2016-17 regular season with a game at Rutgers-Camden on Wednesday, Feb. 15. The Red Hawks next game will be home at Panzer Athletic Center in the NJAC Semifinals on Feb. 22.