Women's Basketball Falls in OT to Stevens

Montclair, NJ (11/29/08) – Senior guard Dani Dudek (Rockaway, NJ / Morris Hills) scored five of her 21 points in overtime as Stevens outlasted Montclair State 83-79 in the opening game of the Red Hawk / Pioneer Classic as the MSU Student Recreation Center on Saturday afternoon.

Sophomore center Paige Armstrong (Fair Haven, NJ / Rumson-Fair Haven) collected a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds as the Ducks won their fifth straight to move to 5-1 on the season.

Freshman guard Jaime Ericson ( Flemington, NJ / Hunterdon Central) scored a game-high 24 points off the bench as the Red Hawks (1-3) battled from eight-points down in the final four minutes to force the extra session.

Dawn Garcia’s (Brooklyn, NY / Bishop Ford Central Catholic) three-pointer with three seconds left in the first half gave Stevens a two-point halftime lead (30-28) it would hold onto throughout much of the second half before Montclair rallied. A three by Brittany Fuller (East Rockaway, NY / East Rockaway) put the Ducks up 65-57 with 4:11 left, but Montclair would get that deficit down to 65-61 with 2:35 remaining as Kisandra Ayanbeku (Burlington, MA / Randolph) scored on a jumper in the paint.

Sarah Gehring ( Spokane, WA / Central Valley) hit from close on the next trip down for Stevens to boost the lead back to six, however Jamilee Pflug ( Clark, NJ / Arthur L. Johnson) connected from behind the arc to brining Montclair with in 67-64 with 1:52 left. The Ducks turned the ball over and Ericson’s three-point play tied the game at 67-67 with 55 seconds left.

Victoria Webber (Houston, TX / Ocean Township) put Stevens back in front with a layup with 46 seconds, but Jackie Berry (Tuckerton, NJ / Pinelands Regional) tied the game again at 69-all with 31 seconds on a driving layup. Stevens turned the ball over on its possession and Montclair got one last chance, however Ayanbeku’s short jumper rattled in and out the game headed into overtime.

In the OT, Armstrong and Pflug traded jumped to start the period. Dudek then converted a conventional three-point play to put the Ducks in front 71-74 and Garcia’s three with 1:17 left boosted the Stevens lead to 77-72 with 1:17 remaining. A Berry free throw with 18 seconds got the Red Hawks to 79-75 but Brianne Lavin ( Farmingdale, NJ / Howell) and Dudek combined to go 4-for-4 at the line to seal the win for Stevens.

Dudek added four rebounds, seven assists and five steals while Fuller had 12 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots. Melissa Collier ( Woodbridge, VA / Osburn Park) added nine points while Jillian Barrett ( Philadelphia, PA / Central) had eight points and second rebounds.

Ayanbeku registered her second consecutive double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds while Marianne McGovern ( Fair Lawn, NJ / Paramus Catholic) had 14 points and four assusts. Berry chipped in with 12 points, six rebounds and two assists with Pflug contributing 10 points and three assists.

The game was just the third meeting between the teams and the second time that overtime was necessary to decide a winner. Montclair recorded a 77-74 win over the Ducks at Panzer Gymnasium on February 15 of this year. Stevens won the last meeting 57-50 in the championship game of the ECAC Division III Metro Tournament.

Both teams return to action tomorrow with the second day of the Red Hawk / Pioneer Classic, which will take place the WPU Rec Center in Wayne, NJ. Montclair State takes on Colby College at 1:00 pm while Stevens battles co-host William Paterson in the 3:00 pm matchup.