The freezing temperature on Tuesday night did not stop the Montclair State University women’s basketball team from bringing the heat and bagging a 66-58 win in their first game of the season against Hunter College.
The first quarter started off strong with Hunter scoring the first two points of the game, but junior guard Taylor Brown quickly opened the scoreboard with a three-pointer for the Red Hawks. Brown was a key component in the Red Hawks’ success, finishing the game with a total of 14 points and six rebounds.
The rest of the first quarter was back and forth, both teams managing to keep a close score. Freshman guard Nicole Carter clutched the last three points of the quarter to put the Red Hawks in the lead.
Hunter started the second quarter on a high, claiming their biggest lead of the night, at 24-20. The Red Hawks quickly jumped back in and ended the half leading 32-27, with junior forward Kayla Bush and sophomore guard Julia Sutton each scoring seven points, and junior guard Kim Calloway and Brown each recording six points.
The Red Hawks managed to maintain a lead at the end of every quarter, keeping the pressure on their opponents. Senior guard Phoebe Valenton brought the score difference to one with a three-pointer for Hunter, but it was not enough. The Red Hawks finished the game with a strong, eight-point final lead thanks to jumpers scored by Bush and Carter.
Carter ended her college debut with 11 points, one assist and four rebounds. Calloway finished with eight points, six assists, five steals, and four rebounds.
This was a great start to the season for the Red Hawks, who finished last season with 16 wins and 10 losses, a record this champion team is not accustomed to.
Coach Karin Harvey shared her thoughts on the win and what it means to the team.
“I thought it was a great first start,” Coach Harvey said. “It’s good to get going, we needed a game badly. I really liked when we pushed the ball in transition; when we push the ball in transition, we’re going to be a good basketball team.”
Coach Harvey also mentioned a key player that was essential to the Red Hawks’ win.
“I was really impressed with Kayla Bush,” Coach Harvey said. “She worked really hard in the offseason, she deserved that, she’s twice the player she was last year and that’s really exciting.”
Bush had a career-best game racking up 18 points and 13 rebounds that were essential to the team’s win. She talks about the reason behind her success.
“Last year, I couldn’t do half the things I can do now,” Bush said. “I worked so hard over the summer, I had to gain weight, that’s always been a struggle for me. I worked on my moves, just lifted all the time. I think tonight, my work over the summer and preseason really showed; I couldn’t be happier. This was a big team win, everyone did really well and I’m just excited for the rest of the season.”
The Red Hawks lost both of their games in the Trinity College Tip-off Tournament on Saturday, but they are looking to regain their momentum upon their return home on Wednesday, Nov. 20, against Fairleigh Dickinson University, at 6 p.m.