The Montclair State University women’s basketball team finished off their weekend games with a clean sweep against William Paterson University. The team won on Saturday by a score of 67-43, giving them a 2-1 record on the season. A big performance by senior guard Taylor Brown, who scored 15 points and collected five boards, helped secure a Red Hawks victory.
Montclair State women’s basketball head coach Karin Harvey was proud of the energy displayed on the court and feels optimistic about what is to come.
“The difference between today’s [game] and Salisbury is night and day. I thought they brought a ton of energy,” Harvey said. “Even the bench showed a lot of energy, [so] we are playing a lot harder. It’s starting to look a lot more like Montclair State basketball.”
This season is going to be scheduled a bit differently with the Red Hawks playing back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday every week. The games will also be against the same opponent, which is why Montclair State faced William Paterson twice this weekend.
Because the schedule is going to be set up like this, this team’s depth is set to have a strong year. After shooting 29% from the field on Friday, it was picked to 38% for Saturday’s game, with the highest scorer being Brown.
“My teammates did a really good job of helping me and telling me to keep shooting even when I miss,” Brown said. “I have to play my game, keep shooting and keep making stops on defense.”
Defensively, the Red Hawks played their best game of the season so far; getting nine blocks and 11 steals were both season highs. They also had a great day rebounding, as sophomore forward Saniya Myers collected a career-high seven rebounds, while junior guard Kelly Smith led the charge in grabbing 14 rebounds.
Smith says she does not only find fun in the game itself, but also enjoys helping out her teammates.
“On and off the court it means a lot to me to be able to help my teammates out and to just be able to play the game that I love,” Smith said. “It’s awesome. It’s been fun.”
During Friday’s game, Montclair State led by 11 at the half, but the Pioneers erased the lead in the third quarter. In this one, they led at the half by nine, but instead came back in the third and only packed it on more.
After back-to-back games, William Paterson’s small roster of only eight seemed fatigued, while the Red Hawks came out of halftime refueled and ready to go as they would take the third quarter, 19-5.
The Red Hawks were able to control sophomore guard Brianna Smith, who was playing the best basketball all weekend. She was held scoreless in the third quarter as she ended the game with 11 points.
As the fourth quarter came around, Montclair State had a convincing lead that ended the day for many of their top players like junior guard Julia Sutton, who got eight points and two blocks. She scored a combined 26 points on the weekend, as she was firing on all cylinders in both games. Sophomore guard Nickie Carter also had a huge game, tying Brown with 15 points on the day, going for 3-4 from downtown.
Harvey was thrilled that her team started off their New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) play with back-to-back victories.
“It’s huge to start 2-0, you don’t have a lot of time to make up anything,” Harvey said. “Another big thing looking at the big picture: this was the first week of NJAC play and every single women’s game was played and every single men’s game was played. I think that’s just a huge win for the conference. There is a lot of effort that goes into letting us play and I’m just happy everything went smooth. Hopefully, we can continue to stay safe and continue to be able to play a little bit of basketball.”
After a tough game against Salisbury University, the Red Hawks are now on a two-game winning streak and started the season undefeated in conference play. Next week they go on to play Kean University, who started the season 0-2.