Women's Basketball Beats NJCU in Conference Opener

Montclair, NJ (12/3/08) – Freshman guard Jaime Ericson (Flemington, NJ / Hunterdon Central) came off the bench to score 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds as Montclair State knocked off New Jersey City, 74-62 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference opener for both teams at the MSU Student Recreation Center on Wednesday evening.

Junior Kisandra Ayanbeku ( Burlington, MA / Randolph) posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds as the Red Hawks snapped a three-game losing streak in improving to 2-4 overall, 1-0 in the NJAC.

Freshman guard Lashawn Overton ( Jersey City, NJ / Snyder) had a solid game with a game-high 26 points along with four rebounds, three assists and six steals as the Gothic Knights dropped their third straight and fell to 1-5 overall, 0-1 in the conference.

Montclair State led for all but 2:50 of the game. Catherine Cristino (Farmingdale, NJ / Colts Neck) drained a three-pointer to give MSU a 7-5 lead with 17:10 to play as the game remained within four points until a 12-0 run by MSU.

Leading 13-11, Jamilee Pflug ( Clark, NJ / Arthur L. Johnson) ignited the run with a layup and Marianne McGovern (Fair Lawn, NJ / Paramus Catholic) and Cristino hit consecutive baskets before Ericson’s three-point made the score 23-11 with 10:44 left. Cristino capped the run with a short jumper in the key as Montclair built a 14-poit lead en route to a 40-26 halftime advantage.

In the second half, Ebony Cunningham ( East Orange, NJ / East Orange Campus) got NJCU within 44-32 with 14:20 to go on a layup, but Montclair went on another run, this one a 28-8 spurt to take its largest lead at 72-40 with 5:59 left. Pflug started the run again with two straight baskets and McGovern later finished off a fast break to make the score 59-34. Pflug added a three-point play and McGovern’s layup finished off the run with just under six minutes to go.

New Jersey City would make a run of its own as it sliced the deficit by 18 points in the final 5:59. Overton had 13 of those points as New Jersey City ended the game with a 22-2 run.

Cristino had 13 points, five rebounds and five blocked shots for MSU, which shot 48 percent (29-of-60) from the field. Pflug made it four Red Hawks in double figures with 11 points and five assists. Junior Jackie Berry ( Tuckerton, NJ / Pinelands) chipped in with nine points, and five assists.

Cunningham collected 16 points and five rebounds for NJCU with Carolina Garcia ( Plainfield, NJ / Franklin) getin 10 points, four rebounds and four assists. Nidia Carmona ( Elizabeth, NJ / Elizabeth) had six points, a team-high eight rebounds and four assists for NJCU.

Both teams return to action on Saturday, December 6 with home NJAC contests. Montclair State faces The College of New Jersey at the MSU Student Recreation Center at 1:00 pm.