Montclair, NJ – Sophomore forward Melissa Tobie (Elizabeth, NJ, Roselle Catholic)
scored a game-high 24 points, including 15 in the second half, to lead
undefeated Montclair State University to a school-record 20th straight
victory with a 65-49 win over Rutgers University-Camden in a New Jersey
Athletic Conference contest Saturday afternoon at the Panzer Athletic
Montclair State, ranked 11thin the nation on the D3Hoops.com Top25 Poll and 12th in the USA Today/Women's Basketball Coaches Association Poll, remains one of five unbeaten teams in NCAA Div. III this season at 20-0 and tops the New Jersey Athletic Conference standings at 12-0
MSU, which has already set the school record for the best start to a season, breaks the previous school mark for consecutive victories (19), which was set during the 1977-78 season when it advanced to the AIAW Final Four. The 20-game winning streak also ranks tied for third in the school’s history among its athletic programs. It is also the first 20-win season for Montclair State since the 2003-04campaign and the first for coach Karin Harvey, who is in her sixth season at MSU. The Red Hawks have now won the last 14 straight games against Rutgers-Camden and lead the all-time series 34-15.
The first 10 and a half minutes of the game saw two ties and six lead changes as both teams looked to take control. Rutgers-Camden, which had a two-game winning streak snapped as its fell to 8-11 on the year and 3-9 in NJAC play, was led by sophomore guard Lillian Chukwueze (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill East), who scored a game-high 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Chukwueze scored six of her 16 first-half points to help the Scarlet Raptors take their biggest lead of the game at 9-4 with 16:15 to play in the first half and their last at 14-13 with 11:19 remaining.
The nation’s leader in scoring margin (29.8 ppg.) and ranked third in scoring defense (44.4 ppg.), MSU then sandwiched two 7-0 runs between a Chukwueze 3-point field goal to take a 27-17 advantage with 30 seconds left in the opening period before heading into the intermission ahead 27-19.
The Red Hawks, who have now won by double digits in every game this season, kept up the scoring pace at the start of the second half and never looked back. Tobie, the NJAC Rookie of the Year last season who also collected team-highs with eight rebounds and three steals, scored 10 points as Montclair State increased its margin to as much as 19 points twice, the last at 51-32 at the 9:51 mark. Tobie also matched her season high for points.
Reserve freshman guard Kelly Williams (Titusville, NJ, Hopewell Valley) scored 12 points, including the final seven points of the contest and senior forward Taylor Jeffers (Franklin Township, NJ, Franklin) added 10 points for Montclair State. Junior center Tina Croxton (Deptford, N.J./Deptford) chipped in 11 points for Rutgers-Camden.
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