Women's Basketball Loses to No. 7 Marymount in Holiday Classic Title Game, 65-58

Arlington, VA (1/3/10) - Senior forward Catherine Cristino (Farmingdale, NJ / Colts Neck) scored 16 points however No. 7 Marymount University widened a five-point halftime lead and staved off Montclair State for a 65-58 victory in the championship game of the Marymount Holiday Classic on Sunday afternoon.

Junior forward Kisandra Ayanbeku (Brockton, MA / Randolph) added nine points and five rebounds as the Red Hawks had their two-game winning streak snapped and fell to 7-5 on the year. Ayanbeku and Cristino were both named to the All-Tournament Team.

Host Marymount jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first five minutes before the Red Hawks  scored 10 of the next 12 points to take a one-point lead. Cristino got MSU on the board with a layup and back-to-back three-pointers by Cristino and Jamilee Pflug (Clark, NJ / Arthur L. Johnson) put MSU ahead 10-9 with 12:34 to go.

The teams would trade the lead four times with MSU taking its last advantage with 7:39 to go as sophomore Jaime Ericson (Flemington, NJ / Hunterdon Central) hit from behind the arc to make the score 20-19. But Marymount would close out the half with a 14-8 run to take a 33-28 lead in to the break

In the second half, Ayanbeku scored on a layup as MSU drew to 35-30 with just under 18 minutes to play. But a three-point play by Kathleen Brown and layup from Maame Amponsah boosted the lead to 41-30 for Marymount.

Trailing by as many as 14 points, Montclair would make one last run, trimming the deficit to 60-56 as Cristino converted a three-point play with 1:42 to go. But free throws down the stretch by Brown, Amanda Billy and Christina LaVigna gave the Saints their final margin of victory as they stopped Montclair defensively for all but a shot with two seconds to go.
Pflug finished with nine points, three assists and three steals for the Red hawks while Ericson, Jackie Berry (Tuckerton, NJ / Pinelands Regional) and Devin Feeney (Whippany, NJ / Whippany Park) each netted six points. Berry collected six assists and four steals.

The Red Hawks return to action on Wednesday, January 6 as they host Ramapo College at the Panzer Athletic Center beginning at 7:00 pm.