The Montclair State University women’s basketball team has had a successful first half of their season, standing currently at 12-4 overall and 7-2 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC). This past weekend, the team beat Stockton University 52-43 to extend their win streak to seven games overall and four straight wins in the NJAC.
Over winter break, the team hosted Hartwick College, York College and Bethany College, which brought the return of former Montclair State assistant coach, Brian Sansom, for the Montclair State holiday tournament. The Red Hawks dominated Bethany in the first game 71-29 and further advanced to the championship game where they beat York, 67-54.
The team’s seven-game win streak is a testament to how hard the Red Hawks have been working since preseason and how well the team plays together. Even when the team loses a game, the score margin has been small with the team giving it their all until the end.
On Dec. 14, the team hosted The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) where the Red Hawks tied the game on the buzzer to go into overtime. Unfortunately, TCNJ won the game 64-62 on a buzzer-beater, but this was a game that showed that the Red Hawks never give up and fight until the very end.
Although the team’s success has been a group effort, there have been some standout players this season, one being freshman guard Nikki Carter, who was named the NJAC rookie of the week. Carter currently leads the team in scoring average in the NJAC with a 15.1 average and is ranked fifth overall in the conference.
Teammate and senior forward Alex McKinnon is behind Carter with a 12.2 average and is ranked 11th overall in the conference. McKinnon has also been having a successful senior season and was named NJAC player of the week.
“We have to keep showing up and playing hard every single game and for every possession,” McKinnon said. “The NJAC is a tough conference and no games are given, so we have to work hard in practice and stick to our basics to continue the streak.”
McKinnon has also been accepted into the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) “So You Want To Be A Coach” program, which helps female college athletes who aspire to be coaches someday. This program will provide her with professional development and career advancement through education, skills enhancement, networking and exposure opportunities. McKinnon is the second Red Hawk in history to be selected for the program, the last being Kisandra Ayanbeku in 2011.
When asked about the seven-game win streak, McKinnon was proud of her team’s accomplishments.
“It’s a great feeling,” McKinnon said. “Things are clicking for us on offense and I think we are playing consistent defense. We are playing like a team and everyone is involved in every play.”
The Red Hawks are back in action this semester to see if they can continue their unbeaten run.