After shooting a season-worst 24% from the field and 13% from the 3-point range, the Montclair State University women’s basketball team will be searching for answers on offense as they fell to Rowan University, 65-47.
The beginning of the game was a sign of things to come for the duration of the match for Montclair State. In the first two minutes of the first quarter, Montclair State committed four turnovers, which ultimately caused Rowan to start the game on an 11-2 run out the gate.
The Profs came out in a full-court press defense and stayed in that set for the majority of the game. That, along with a 3-2 zone, prevented their offense from ever establishing a rhythm.
Montclair State was held to seven points in the first quarter, shooting 0-5 from three and 3-16 from the field in the quarter. Senior guard Annie Walsh gave credit to the opposition’s defense.
“Rowan plays really tough defense,” Walsh said. “When they’re in the passing lanes it’s hard on [offense]. We [still] needed to do a better job taking care of the ball, it’s just a learning experience for us.”
Things did appear to turn around in the second quarter for Montclair State. They reduced their deficit to six (26-20) by the end of the quarter despite shooting 1-14 from three during that first half. Junior guard Nickie Carter ended the Red Hawks’ cold spell from downtown, making the team’s first 3-pointer with 1:45 left in the second quarter.
“On average, we are a good 3-point shooting team so when we have open shots, we have to take them,” Walsh said. “Unfortunately, tonight they just didn’t fall. We could have executed better and tried to get the ball inside more often, we just have to keep shooting and they’ll fall another day.”
The Red Hawks’ struggles continued in the third quarter. They opened up the second half with three turnovers once again in the first three minutes of the quarter. Rowan would then proceed to go on a 16-0 run extending their lead to 22, giving Rowan a 42-20 lead midway through the third.
Sophomore forward Megan Duffy would put an end to the 16-0 run by scoring a layup with 4:52 remaining in the third. Duffy’s layup would be their first points of the second half.
Montclair State won the fourth quarter 16-15, increasing their shooting percentage from three and the field. However, it would be too little, too late. Turnovers along with the Red Hawks’ abysmal shooting created too big of a deficit to overcome in such a short period of time remaining in the game.
This loss now puts the women’s team at 6-7, making this the program’s worst start to a season since the 2010-2011 season. As of Jan. 13, They are 2-4 at home and 3-2 on the road.
“I believe the team is comfortable regardless if we’re home or away; it just depends on how we execute in games,” Walsh said. “We love the fans, we love the atmosphere playing at home, we just need to execute at home going forward.”
Montclair State is next in action this Saturday as it meets New Jersey City University (NJCU) at the John J. Moore Athletic Complex in Jersey City, New Jersey with a 1:00 p.m. tip-off time. It will be the first meeting between the two since last April’s NJAC Championship Game, won by the Gothic Knights.