Senior forward Catherine Cristino (Farmingdale, NJ / Colts Neck) added 16 points and six rebounds for the Red Hawks (1-1) who will face host Emerson College in the championship game of the tournament on Saturday, November 21 at 3:00 pm. Emerson slipped past Hamilton College, 71-69.
Montclair State fell behind 13-5 in the first four minutes of the game and trailed 20-13 with 8:05 to play before going on 15-2 run over the next five-plus minutes to take a lead it would never relinquish. Freshman Rhonda Sharif (Cliffside Park, NJ / Cliffside Park) drained a three-to put Montclair State up by one and Cristino followed with MSU's third consecutive trifecta as the Red Hawks led 26-22 with 3:50 remaining. Ayanbkeu would later add a basket and a jumper by Pflug capped off a 19-5 end of the half run as Montclair State led 32-25 at the break.
In the second half, a layup by Ayanbeku gave MSU a 38-27 lead, but Suffolk battled back trimming the deficit to four points twice, including 42-38 with 13:55 to play on a bucket by Lindsey Rogers. But Ayanbeku countered with the next four points and Jackie Berry (Tuckerton, NJ / Pinelands Regional) added a jumper as MSU restored the lead to 48-40 with 11:44 left.
Suffolk would make one last charge getting to 54-50, but a free throw and three-pointer from Pflug was followed with a three from sophomore Jaime Ericson (Flemington, NJ / Hunterdon Central) as the lead was pushed back to 61-50 with 5:36 to go.Ericson finished with five points and four rebounds for MSU while Berry chipped in with four points and eight assists.