Slam Dunk

‌‌Women post undefeated regular season, celebrate “Sweet Sixteen”

Women’s basketball coach Karin Harvey met with her captains all summer to review The Team Captain’s Leadership Manual, by sports psychologist Jeff Janssen. “Leadership is so important. It was a really amazing experience,” Harvey told Inside MSU, a news production of the School of Communication and Media.

Her efforts paid off. With 29 wins, the Red Hawks posted the longest winning streak in Montclair State athletic history, surpassing the 26  straight wins by the softball team in 2008. For the first time since the 1970–71 season, the team was undefeated, ending the regular season 25-0.

“I didn’t really grasp that we’d set a record until the buzzer went off,” senior team captain Taylor Jeffers said after the final game.‌

The team captured its second-ever New Jersey Athletic Conference crown by defeating William Paterson 75-54 at home. A 71-51 victory over Lebanon Valley—the team’s 29th—advanced the Red Hawks to the NCAA “Sweet Sixteen” Sectional Tournament, where the magical season ended in a 83-70 loss to Christopher Newport University in the semifinal round on March 8 in Indiana.

“This team has done everything that I’ve asked them to do and so much more all year long,” Harvey told the media after the game.

The Red Hawks entered the Sweet Sixteen round as one of only two undefeated Division III teams and was ranked No. 5 by and No. 7 in the USA Today Sports Top 25 Women’s Basketball Coaches Poll. Its 29 wins tie Rowan (1995–96) and Kean (2009–10) for the second-highest single season total in the history of New Jersey women’s college basketball, behind only Rutgers’ 30 wins in 1986–87.

Sophomore forward Melissa Tobie was named NJAC Player of the Year and honorable mention for the Division III All-America Team. Freshman Shalette Brown was named NJAC and D3Hoops Rookie of the Year, and Head Coach Karin Harvey was named NJAC Coach of the Year and was a finalist for the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Division III Coach of the Year.

“I’m wildly proud of this team,” President Susan A. Cole told Inside MSU. “They are terrific—and the most terrific thing about them is the way they play together.”