Pomona, NJ (2/19/11) - The freshman backcourt duo of Theresa Towns (Morristown, NJ / Morristown) and Michelle Montagna (New Providence, NJ / New Providence) combined for 34 points as Montclair State advanced to the semifinals of the 2011 New Jersey Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Championship with a 64-55 victory over Richard Stockton at the Stockton Sports Center on Saturday afternoon.
Junior guard Jaime Ericson (Flemington, NJ / Hunterdon Central) posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds as the Red Hawks (14-12) knocked off the Ospreys for the second time this season. MSU defeated Stockton 72-67 at the Panzer Athletic Center on January 29. Towns finished with 18 points while Montagna had 16 points and five assists.
Montclair will next face local rival and No. 21 William Paterson in the semifinals on Wednesday, February 23 at the WPU Rec Center in Wayne, NJ. It will be the third meeting between the two this season with the Pioneers picking up wins in the two previous contests - 90-76 in Wayne on December 1 and 68-57 at Montclair State on February 2. It will also be the third time that the two schools have met in the NJAC Tournament with WPU capturing both games in 1991 (54-43) and again in 1998 (60-54).
After Montclair led by three at 25-22 at the half, Stockton started the second stanza on a 6-0 run before the Red Hawks answered with three-pointers by Ericson and Montagna to regain the lead at 31-30.
Stockton later pulled within 37-36 after two straight baskets by LaTonya Oliver (West Berlin/ Overbrook), but Montagna hit two more from behind the arc during a 15-4 run and Montclair State never looked back. The Red Hawks hit five of seven three pointers after the break and led by as much as 15 points on the way to the nine-point run .
Towns led four Red Hawks in double figures with a game-high 18 points along with four rebounds and a steal. Montagna added her 16 including 4-5 from behind the arc. Kisandra Ayanbeku (Brockton, MA/ Randolph) tallied 12 points and nine boards for Montclair State.
LaTonya Oliver (West Berlin, NJ / Overbrook) led the Ospreys with 17 points and a team high 10 boards, while Aliyah Nelson (Pleasantville/St. Joseph) and Lauren Alwan (Winslow/Timber Creek) added 13 and 10 points respectively.