The Red Hawks opened their season with a 77-62 victory over Ithaca College on Nov 15. The match on Sunday featured two NCAA D3 tournament teams from last year and was the first game of the season for both teams.
Both teams started the first half playing sloppy basketball. The Red Hawks missed their first three shots, including two layups, and the Bombers also missed their first three attempts. However, the Red Hawks remedied their mistakes by playing strong defense, which helped them jump to a 16-3 lead in the first quarter.
Despite getting out to a quick start, the team struggled to find consistency in the second quarter. The women earned a quick four fouls and missed their first four from the field. The majority of their fouls were loose ball fouls, which gave Ithaca College easy points in the second quarter.
“[Ithaca] scored 12 consecutive points from the free throw line in the second quarter,” Head coach Karin Harvey said. “The thing is, when we put them on the free throw line, we can’t rebound and we can’t run. It kills our whole game.”
In addition to their foul trouble, the Red Hawks’ defense did not hold steady. Montclair State gave up 28 points in the second quarter and went into halftime trailing 31-30.
The women’s basketball team came out with more discipline in the third quarter and got back on track on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. Senior guard Kayla Ceballos sparked the Red Hawks with 13 third quarter points, including three makes from the three point line. Montclair State held the Bombers scoreless for over five and a half minutes and the team had jumped out to a 55-41 lead by the time Ithaca College scored their next basket.
Ceballos helped the Red Hawks put the game away with two three pointers in the fourth quarter. Ceballos drained a three in transition to give them a commanding 74-54 lead with four minutes remaining.
Sophomore forward Katie Sire put up 19 points and 17 rebounds for the Red Hawks. Additionally, the team held Ithaca College to a low 29.0% from the field for the game.
Montclair State is back in action with an away game against Vassar College on Nov. 16. They’ll return home with a conference game against The College of New Jersey on Nov. 21.