Coming off of two straight losses in the Trinity College Tipoff Tournament, the Montclair State University women’s basketball team was able to claim their second win after routing the Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham (FDU-Florham) Devils, 78-66.
The first quarter was pretty even, with multiple defensive stops from both sides. Senior forward Alex McKinnon and freshman guard Nicole Carter led the charge, contributing 11 of the 17 points in the first. The Red Hawks also capitalized with their rebounding, snagging 15 boards in the quarter alone.
Head Coach Karin Harvey was very pleased with how the team dominated the glass and the way their defensive scheme came about.
“It started out with defense and rebounding, that was kind of our main focus,” Harvey said. “To keep the game plan simple, we wanted to play good half-court defense, rebound and then get out in transition and run.”
FDU-Florham kept the game close with a jumper with 8:32 left in the second quarter, only being down 19-18. The Red Hawks were then able to go on a tremendous run of their own, getting help from sophomore guard Trisha Peterson hitting two threes and junior forward Kayla Bush making her presence felt, racking in 10 rebounds and two blocks in the first half.
Although the turnover margin was 11-5 in favor of the Devils, it did not seem to worry the Red Hawks as they outrebounded them with 35 boards to their 15. Senior guard Cerys MacLelland secured six rebounds as well as junior guard Taylor Brown contributing with five, giving Montclair State plenty of opportunities for second-chance points.
McKinnon and Bush would make consecutive shots in the paint, capping off a 13-point lead heading into the half. With the score at 39-26 at the break, McKinnon had shot an outstanding 8-11, tallying up 16 points, five rebounds and three blocks.
McKinnon addressed how the team started off playing hard and the distribution of ball movement was a crucial component of her scoring at will.
“I think my teammates had awesome passes to me inside and I was able to finish them, but that could be anybody on any given day,” McKinnon said. “I knew rebounding would be one of my main focuses. Although they were tough on the offensive end, I didn’t want to foul and I was able to come away with a few blocks.”
As the third quarter commenced, Montclair State did not let off the gas pedal with a quick steal and fast-break score from MacLelland. She would have a stellar outing, scoring six points along with seven assists and eight rebounds. The Devils had a tough time scoring, only cashing in two consecutive threes, still down 53-39 as 3:20 was left in the third.
Steals from Carter and junior guard Kim Calloway set the defensive tone as the Red Hawks were able to convert more field goals. Sophomore guard Rylee Mulligan would finish off the 7-2 run with two free throws, up 60-41 at the end of the third.
FDU-Florham went on a little spurt of their own during the fourth, but it was not enough as the Montclair State bench came alive. Freshman forward Saniya Myers got all of her eight points in the quarter, as the Red Hawks beat the Devils, 78-66.
Montclair State had the upper hand in most categories with 56-36 points in the paint, 24-18 bench points, 23-2 for the largest lead and 60-35 in rebounds. McKinnon led the scoring load with 22, while Bush notched her second double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds in the win.
“We played well together as a team,” Coach Harvey said. “For the next game, we need to do a better job of not giving up threes. Overall, this game was a big step forward.”
The Red Hawks look to keep their momentum going as they face off against William Paterson University Tuesday, Nov. 26.