Women's Basketball Comes Through in Overtime to Down Stevens

Montclair, NJ (2/15/08) – Sophomore forward Catherine Cristino (Farmingdale, NJ / Colts Neck) hit two free throws with 15 seconds left to force overtime then scored eight of her 14 in the extra period as Montclair State knocked off Stevens, 77-74 in NCAA Division III women’s basketball action at Panzer Gymnasium on Friday evening.

Senior guard Jessica Garrabrant (Denville, NJ / Morris Knolls) scored a career-high 22 points as the Red Hawks (14-9) defeated  the Ducks in the first meeting between the schools.

Senior forward Dora Enright (Longmont, CO/Longmont) posted a double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds for Stevens, which had its 12-game winning streak snapped with the loss. The Ducks are now 19-4.

Montclair State had built a 38-25 halftime lead, however Stevens used a 19-2 run that bridged the halves of regulation to erase the deficit and forged the first of 13 ties in the game at 40-40. Stevens would then build a 61-56 lead with 2:15 as Sarah Gehring (Spokane, WA/Central Valley) drilled a three-pointer, but Montclair came back tying the game with 1:19 to play as Cristino hit two free throws to knot the contest at 61-61. Victoria Connor (Westwood, NJ/Saddle River Day) and Cristino each added foul shots for the ninth deadlock and the Ducks moved back in front with 31 ticks left as Dani Dudek (Rockaway, NJ / Morris Hills) drove the lane and scored on a layup for a 64-62 Stevens lead. But on the ensuing MSU possession, Cristino was fouled and hit both attempts and the game headed to overtime.

In the extra period, Brittany Fuller (East Rockaway, NY/East Rockaway) came off a screen at the top of the key and lofted high-arching three-pointer that put Stevens ahead, 71-68 with 2:08 remaining. Back came Montclair State with a three-of its own as Cristino hit from the left side for the last of the 13 ties. The Ducks came up empty on their next possession and Cristino buried another three from the left corner as Montclair pulled in front 74-71 with 45 seconds to play. Paige Armstrong (Fair Haven, NJ / Rumson-Fair Haven) answered with a layup to pull the Ducks within 74-73 with :21 to go, but Garrabrant connected twice from the charity stripe for MSU to make the score 76-73 with 16 seconds left.

Dudek sank one free throw to bring Stevens within 76-74 with nine seconds left, however Garrabrant sank the first of two foul shots with four seconds to play for what turned out to be the final margin. Stevens did get one last possession, but the Ducks could not get off a potential game-tying shot.

Sophomore guard Jackie Berry (Tuckerton, NJ / Pinelands Regional) finished with 13 points and five assists for Montclair State. Garrabrant and sophomore Kisandra Ayanbeku (Burlington, MA/Randolph), who scored seven points, had eight rebounds apiece for the Red Hawks  while Cristino grabbed six caroms.

Fuller and Armstrong had 12 points with O’Connor and Armstrong each getting 10 for Stevens. Armstrong registered nine rebounds while Jean Matusiak (Queens, NY / Christ the King) had four points and dished out nine assists.

Montclair State is now off until Wednesday, February 20 when the Red Hawks host New Jersey City in their final regular-season home game at 8:00 pm. Stevens is back in action on Sunday, February 17 as the Ducks travel to Utica College for a 2:00 pm tip-off in the Empire 8 Conference.