Senior forward Catherine Cristino (Farmingdale, NJ / Colts Neck)
added 15 points for the Red Hawks (7-4) as they won their second
straight and moved into the championship game on Sunday, January 3. MSU
will face host Marymount at 5:00 pm.
The Red Hawks struggled in the first half shooting just 8-of-28 (29 percent) from the floor including 2-of-12 from behind the arc, but battled enough to be down only by three, 23-20 at halftime.
second half however would see MSU turn its fortunes around at both ends
of the floor. The Red Hawks shot 52 percent (10-of-19) from the field
and converted 18-of-21 chances at the charity stripe. At the defensive
end, Montclair forced the F&M (5-4) into 8-of-28 shooting.
trailed through the first eight-plus minutes, but took the lead at
32-31 as Cristino converted a layup with 11:40 left in the contest. The
game would be played within one points and tied four times over the
next five minutes before Franklin and Marshall went up 40-38 on a layup
by Alison Menna.
Junior guard Jamilee Pflug (Clark, NJ / Arthur L. Johnson) answered right back with a three-pointer igniting a 10-0 run as Montclair took the lead for good. Ayanbeku followed with the next seven points as the Red Hawks pulled in front 48-40 with 3:44 left.
The Diplomat’s Megan Pauley broke the spurt with a jumper on the next
possession, but MSU managed to boost the lead back to 54-42 on two foul
shots by Jaime Ericson (Flemington, NJ / Hunterdon Central) with 2:35 left.