Yazmine Lacy’s tenacious rebounding off the bench propelled Montclair State to a 64-39 blowout over Ramapo College on Saturday, Dec. 5. The team’s bench contributions and stingy defense helped the Red Hawks to their second consecutive victory after their first loss of the season to Moravian College last month.
Right from the tip-off, the women put the pressure on Ramapo with their suffocating press defense. The Roadrunners either couldn’t handle or were unprepared for the press, as they were stumped every time a trap came their way. The Red Hawks forced five turnovers in five consecutive possessions in the opening quarter, doing so in just under three minutes.
“That was the best our press had looked and I was really excited,” said head coach Karin Harvey. “We’ve really been working on [the press] in practice. We usually get good traps, but we leave our feet and then we let them out of the trap. Today we were real disciplined, stayed down, we got good traps and we let the people off ball get the steals.”
Montclair State forced a season-high 30 turnovers and held Ramapo to a low 31 percent from the field for the game. The Red Hawks furthered their defensive impact by scoring 28 of their points off of turnovers.
In addition to their tough defense, the team gained valuable contributions from numerous bench players. Sophomore forward Yazmine Lacey – who averaged 5.2 minutes per game prior to the contest – came off the bench and set a career-high in both rebounds and points. Her eight rebounds in 19 minutes gave a valuable boost to the Red Hawks, who struggle at times to come down with the ball on the defensive glass.
Lacey had a minor role as a bench player on the team last year, but her play this year may warrant a larger role. “I think she can be a x-factor for us,” Harvey said. “Yazmine worked really hard over the summer and we’ve been really trying to develop her in practice. You know, she’s a tremendous rebounder. We were excited to give her some time today and she did really well.”
Montclair State’s bench stepped up and contributed 26 of the team’s points, in addition to outscoring Ramapo’s bench 26-13. Sophomore guard Erica Snow came in off the bench and nailed two three-pointers, setting a career-high with six points. The two threes closed out the game as the Red Hawks earned their second straight victory.
The team looks sharper since their loss against Moravian College on Nov. 30. “[The loss] highlighted all of the things that we needed to work on and I think we’re trying to use that and learn from that,” Harvey said.
Previously, their offense looked clunky and stuck in the mud at times. Now, their ball movement is crisp and their offense is much more fluid. Granted, their last two games have come against teams with a combined 5-9 record. However, it is encouraging to see their offense running smoothly and their press starting to look as daunting as last year’s version.
The Red Hawks will look to continue their winning streak on Dec. 9 when they face off against William Patterson University at home. They’ll play at Stevens Institute of Technology on Dec. 12 before heading to Puerto Rico for the San Juan Shootout on Dec. 28-29.