The Montclair State University Red Hawks look to move on from a defeat by The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) Lions on Jan. 27. The Lions defeated the Red Hawks by the score of 54-33.
TCNJ’s forward Shannon Devitt was the star of the game, grabbing a double-double as she had 21 points and 15 rebounds. Meanwhile, the Red Hawks’ Julia Sutton led the team in scoring with nine points and three rebounds. The Red Hawks’ loss puts their record at 12-7, along with their New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) at 8-4.
Both teams were struggling, shooting from the field and protecting the basketball in the first two and a half minutes of the first quarter. Red Hawks junior forward Alex McKinnon started off the quarter with an impressive mid-range jumper from an assist from sophomore guard Cerys MacLelland to give the Red Hawks the first lead.
Earlier in the first quarter, TCNJ and Montclair State constantly failed to convert shots and were unable to secure the basketball. While the Red Hawks were down by three with 4:12 left in the quarter, Sutton made an amazing crossover, as well as converting a layup. TCNJ finished the quarter with a 9-6 lead.
In the second quarter, the Red Hawks offense continued to have issues making baskets. The Red Hawks only managed to score four points in the quarter. Red Hawks forward Domonique Wirsing spoke about the Red Hawks’ inability to score.
“When your shot is not going offensively, it can be a struggle,” Wirsing said.
However, the Red Hawks managed to stay in the game with their resilient defense by keeping TCNJ to eight points in the quarter. While TCNJ had a four-point lead, with four and a half minutes, MacLelland shot miraculous three as the shot clock was going down. With 1:21 left to go, TCNJ’s Sam Famulare capitalized by grabbing a steal from Sutton and later ran for a fast-break layup.
Afterward, TCNJ’s forward Jen Byrne grabbed an offensive rebound after missing her own layup and was able to rebound by making another layup attempt. TCNJ finished the first half with a 17-10 lead.
During the first half, Red Hawks shot 13 percent from the field, plus 14 percent from three-point range. On the other hand, TCNJ shot 23 percent from the field and zero percent from the three. Respectively, TCNJ’s Devitt and Red Hawks’ Sutton lead their teams in the first half in scoring.
Heading into the second half, Red Hawks knew they needed their offense to be at their best. After Famulare missed a three, TCNJ’s Devitt controlled the paint by having another offensive rebound and layup after the first minute of the quarter. Immediately, Red Hawks head coach Karin Harvey called a 30-second timeout.
Harvey had a heated discussion with the team about their lack of execution and boxing out the paint. Devitt showed aggression in the second half with 16 points and nine rebounds. Even though the Red Hawks showed more effort on offense, their defense failed to matchup TCNJ’s offense.
Temporarily, Devitt came from the wing and converted a contested jumper. TCNJ mismatched the Red Hawks in the paint. With around six and a half minutes left, Devitt had another offensive rebound and another layup. TCNJ had a 25-14 with 6:20 left. Afterward, TCNJ’s guard and forward Rachel Gazzola made a three, putting their lead to fourteen.
With 2:30 remaining, Devitt had another rebound and made a layup after Gazzola missed a three. Late in the quarter, TCNJ continued their execution with a three-pointer and made a layup from guard Cailey Gibson. The Red Hawks finished the third quarter down sixteen.
Finally, TCNJ held the Red Hawks to single digits in the fourth quarter. Harvey showed more hindrance after the Red Hawks guard Taylor Brown had an early turnover. During the fourth quarter, she encouraged her players to give full effort.
The Red Hawks decreased TCNJ’s lead to 11 after an offensive putback from forward Kayla Bush and a layup, plus an and-one from Brown.
In the end, it was not enough for the Red Hawks to hold off TCNJ. The Lions would pick the win and place their record to 11-8 overall.
Red Hawks assistant coach Courtney Cunningham discussed how TCNJ performed.
“What happened is that TCNJ is a good team, we really struggled offensively,” Cunningham said. “TCNJ is a good team, I don’t think it was anything they did that made us feel different. We just did not make our shots.”
Wirsing explained how the Red Hawks will bounce back from the loss.
“Every game is a big game,” Wirsing said. “We’re gonna come back strong, take [it] one game at a time and try our best to win.”