The Montclair State University women’s basketball team remains unstoppable as they extended their game winning streak to nine on Saturday against Kean University, beating them 70-59. The team’s record is 14-4 overall and 9-2 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC).
Kean came into this game with high expectations after two straight wins against The College of New Jersey, New Jersey City University and also beating Montclair State earlier this season, 71-62. The Red Hawks were also on a three-game losing streak against the Cougars prior to the matchup.
The Red Hawks were quick to keep the past behind them, opening the scoreboard up with a layup from freshman guard Nickie Carter. Carter had an excellent offensive game, scoring a total of 23 points which resulted in her being honored as the NJAC rookie of the week for a second time this season. Carter closed the first quarter the same way she opened it, a layup leading the team into the second quarter with a 17-10 advantage.
The Cougars started the second quarter with a three-pointer from freshman guard Darrique Smith, but the Red Hawks were quick to answer as junior guard Taylor Brown scored the next eight points, helping the team finish the first half with a 10-point lead. Brown had an impressive game, showing her value on the court as she finished the game with 18 points and nine rebounds.
Montclair State extended their lead in the third quarter to 50-33. The Cougars managed to lessen the score margin by scoring eight points in a row before fouling Carter, who ultimately scored two free throws. This gave the Red Hawks a 54-41 lead going into the final quarter.
With a 10-point score difference into the last quarter, the Cougars definitely felt the pressure. The confidence they had felt an hour earlier was now gone.
Cougar’s junior guard Emily Dominguez scored a three-pointer, but Carter and junior forward Kayla Bush quickly scored two field goals to extend the Red Hawks lead by 15. Carter led the team to its biggest lead of the match, 64-47, after scoring twice. With three minutes left in the final quarter, the Cougars managed to score 10 in a row to close the score gap to 64-57. This was not enough, as Brown scored the last two points, closing the game and giving the Red Hawks a much-deserved victory.
Senior guard Cerys MacLelland also had an excellent game for Montclair State, racking up 14 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
Head Coach Karin Harvey knows many things have changed since the first time Montclair State faced Kean. The Red Hawks are a completely different team.
“We played Kean nine or 10 games ago and we were running a different offense,” Harvey said. “We hadn’t gotten to the flow of what we were trying to do, we weren’t outrebounding teams.”
Harvey thinks the team is doing much better in different aspects of the game as opposed to the last time the Red Hawks faced Kean.
“We’re doing a lot of things better, we’re scoring in transitions, our defense is better, our rebounding is better, half-court offense is better, everything is better,” Coach Harvey said. “We don’t even look like the same team that played them the first time.”
As for the nine-win game streak, Harvey could not be happier for her team.
“It feels amazing, we’re having a lot of fun with it,” Harvey said. “I think we’re having fun with it without putting pressure on ourselves. It’s just like a challenge, you know? How many can we get? They scream ‘streak’ all the time, it’s a fun thing.”
Although the odds were stacked against them before the game, Montclair State did what they do best on the court and won the game. The Cougar’s motto may be that they climb higher, but the Red Hawks definitely flew higher.