Montclair, NJ (1/28/09) – Sophomore forward April Smith (Barnegat, NJ / Southern Regional) posted a double-double with 26 points and 17 rebounds as William Paterson took over sole possession of first place in the New Jersey Athletic Conference North Division with a 73-60 victory over Montclair State at the MSU student Recreation Center on Wednesday evening.
Freshman guard BriAna Lucas ( Hamilton, NJ / Nottingham) netted 23 points as the Pioneers improved to 15-5 overall and 7-1 in the conference winning for the 10 th time in their last 12 games.
For Montclair State, junior forward Kisandra Ayanbeku (Burlington, MA / Randolph) recorded a double-double with 19 points and 15 rebounds as the Red Hawks fell to 11-7 overall, 6-2 in the division. MSU has lost three straight following a 10-game winning streak.
Lucas scored 14 points in the first half as the Pioneers, who led from start to finish, scored the first four points of the game. A bucket by Ayanbeku got the Red Hawks within 9-8 with 15:03 to go. But the Pioneers went on a 17-0 run over the next eight minutes to go up by 18 points with 7:29 to play before halftime.
Lucas ignited the run with a layup and Smith beat the shot clock with a 15-foot jumper before Lucas added another layup to make the score 15-8. Erin Cook ( Princeton, NJ / Princeton) had a jumper of her own and then buried a three pointer from the left side as the lead increased to 24-8. Lucas capped off the spurt finishing off a fast break as William Paterson went into halftime ahead 37-23. Smith had 12 points and 10 rebounds in the opening 20 minutes.
In the second half, William Paterson pushed the lead to as many as 18, the last at 47-29 on a Smith layup with 14:44 left. Montclair State would make a run cutting the lead back to 53-45 on an Ayanbeku running jumper with 8:28 to go. Smith however would answer for the Pioneers and Cook’s three-point play restored the lead to 12 points (58-46) with 7:24 remaining.
Montclair would again threaten getting within 60-52 with 3:32 to play as freshman Jenna Totaro ( Secaucus, NJ / Secaucus) connected from behind the arc. But Smith and Lucas combined to 6-of-6 from the free throw line over the minute as William Paterson put the game away.
Cook added a double-double herself with 14 points and 11 rebounds along with four steals. Guard Julie Haledjian ( Montvale, NJ / Pascack Hills) added four points, three rebounds and six assists for the Pioneers, who sizzled at the free throw line converting 22-of-24 chances.
Sophomore guard Jamilee Pflug (Clark, NJ / Arthur L. Johnson) had 13 points for Montclair State, which shot 24-of-65 (37 percent) from the field. Jackie Berry ( Tuckerton, NJ / Pinelands Regional) added 12 points, five rebounds and four assists with Totaro putting up nine points and three rebounds.Both teams return to action on Saturday, January 31. Montclair State host Rutgers-Camden at the MSU Student Recreation Center at 3:00 pm. William Paterson is at home at the WPU Rec Center to take on No. 21 Kean University at 1:00 pm.