Quick Takes: Women’s Basketball Grinds Out First NJAC Victory

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Published November 22, 2016
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The Montclarion
Senior Zoe Curtis (pictured) stuffed the stat sheet and helped lead the women's basketball team to their first NJAC victory of the 2016-17 season. Photo by Dan Falkenheim (picture from 2015-16 season)
Senior Zoe Curtis (pictured) stuffed the stat sheet and helped lead the women's basketball team to their first NJAC victory of the 2016-17 season. Photo by Dan Falkenheim (picture from 2015-16 season)

Senior Zoe Curtis (pictured) stuffed the stat sheet and helped lead the women’s basketball team to their first NJAC victory of the 2016-17 season.
Photo by Dan Falkenheim (picture from 2015-16 season)

The Montclair State women’s basketball team defeated Kean University, 62-53, on Tuesday night and earned their first victory in New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) play. Junior forward Katie Sire scored a team-high 19 points as the Red Hawks earned their fourth consecutive victory to start the 2016-17 season.

Montclair State hadn’t outrebounded their opponents in their first three games, but they swarmed the glass and finished with nine offensive rebounds in the first quarter. If there was an offensive rebound to be had, they got it. Junior guard Kate Tobie and senior forward Sage Bennett each scored five first quarter points and helped lead the Red Hawks to an early 17-13 lead.

Self-inflicted wounds – highlighted by lapses in transition defense and sloppy turnovers – allowed Kean to take a 29-26 lead into the second half. The Red Hawks hadn’t scored a basket since the 7:48 mark of the second quarter, but Sire converted an and-one early in the third quarter to snap the team’s scoreless streak. Sire tallied 13 points in the third quarter and helped Montclair State take a 46-44 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Red Hawks never gave up their fourth quarter lead. They outrebounded Kean 7-3 in the final five minutes and escaped with a 62-53 win in their first NJAC game of the 2016-17 season.

Numbers On The Boards

Montclair State opened with nine offensive rebounds in the first quarter, and Tuesday night was the team’s best rebounding performance of the season. Three different players grabbed at least 10 rebounds, and the team, as a whole, created numerous second-chance opportunities by effectively crashing the offensive glass.

Putting the first three games to the side, the Red Hawks showed their potential as a good rebounding team on Tuesday night.

Struggles From Three Continue

The women’s basketball team shot 4-19 (21.1 percent) from the three point line against Kean and are now shooting 26.1 percent from three on the season. It didn’t help that they also shot 31.3 percent from the floor and went 10 minutes without scoring from the field at one point – but Montclair State is mostly getting the looks they want. The shots just aren’t falling. This won’t be a long-term issue and luck will be on their side sooner rather than later.

The Zoe Curtis Game

Senior guard Zoe Curtis stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists. Beyond the stats, Curtis provided the Red Hawks with one of the grittiest individual performances this season. She crashed the boards, she was diving all over the place for loose balls, she ran the offense well and, if that wasn’t enough, she added one (questionable) technical foul.

The women’s basketball team will be in a great place if they can get this type of performance on a consistent basis from Curtis.

Self-inflicted Wounds

The Red Hawks put together a good performance in general, but the game was a lot closer than it should have been because of a few self-inflicted mistakes. Their transition defense was spotty at times and Kean outscored Montclair State 9-0 on the fastbreak. The team carelessly gave the ball away a few times and allowed Kean to score 30 points off turnovers.

These aren’t major problems and the team is more than capable of fixing them. But, these issues have let their opponents hang around games longer than they probably should.

Up Next

The Red Hawks will return home to face Stevens Institute of Technology – currently ranked No. 24 in the country – on Monday, Nov. 28 at Panzer Athletic Center.

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