Women's Basketball Season Ends in NJAC Semifinals

Box Score

Union, NJ (2/23/10) – The Montclair State women's basketball season came to an end on Tuesday evening as the Red Hawks were knocked out of the New Jersey Athletic Conference Tournament falling to No. 2 ranked Kean University, 92-68 at the Harwood Arena.

Junior forward Kisandra Ayanbeku (Brockton, MA / Randolph) registered a double double with 17 points and 18 rebounds as Montclair State finished the year at 16-10 overall. It is the second consecutive year that MSU was eliminated from the conference tournament by the Cougars in the semifinals. Last year Kean posted a 76-55 win at the MSU Student Recreation Center.

Naimah Clemons took the opening tip in for a lay-up just three-seconds into the game and the Cougars would not look back, as Melissa Beyruti's three with just under 17 minutes remaining in the opening half built a 10-point lead at 15-5.  The Cougars would extend the lead to as many as 20 points on a pair of occasions in the first half, before settling for a 50-34 lead at the break.

Clemons, Beyruti and senior guard Cardiss Jackman accounted for all but four of Kean's first-half points, as Clemons led the way with 16 points and Beyruti and Jackman each added 15 points.  The three-some hit 19-of-26 shots from the floor and 8-of-14 from downtown, including Beyruti's 5-of-7 performance from long-range in the opening half. 

The Cougars scored 30 points off of turnovers in the first half, making 10 steals on 20 Red Hawk miscues. 

In the second half, Montclair State trimmed the lead to 11 points at 56-45 on a three-pointer by Ayanbeku less than three minutes into the half, before the Cougars scored six straight points to push the advantage back to 17 points with 14:26 left in the game. 

The Red Hawks would again cut the deficit to 11 points, pulling within 64-53 with 11:44 to go, however an 8-0 Kean run pushed the lead out to 22 points at 81-59 with less than six minutes to go and the Cougars would take their largest lead at the in the final minute with the 24-point victory.. 

Senior forward Catherine Cristino (Farmingdale, NJ / Colts Neck) added 17 points and eight rebounds as she finished her career with 1,088 points, 13th all time on the MSU scoring list. Fellow classmate Jackie Berry (Tuckerton, NJ / Pinelands Regional) had four points, six rebounds and three assists. Berry ended her career with 464 assists, the sixth-best career total in school history. Forward Kara Burnham (Moorestown, NJ / Moorestown) added seven points and seven rebounds in her final contest for the Red Hawks.

Junior guard Jamilee Pflug (Clark, NJ / Arthur L. Johnson) had nine steals for MSU.