Daytona Beach, FL (12/30/11) – Freshman forward Melissa Tobie (Elizabeth, NJ / Roselle Catholic) finished with 22 points, six rebounds and seven assists while senior guard Jaime Ericson (Flemington, NJ / Hunterdon Central) became the 17th player in program history to score 1,000 career points as Montclair State won its sixth straight, beating Hamilton, 70-55 in the Land og Magic Classic on Friday morning.
Sophomore guard Theresa Towns (Morristown, NJ / Morristown) added 14 points as the Red Hawks upped their record to 8-4 as they finished 2-0 in the tournament.
Montclair State led for all but the first 31 seconds of the contest when Ericson got the first point of the game from the free-throw line. Leading 13-9, the Red Hawks scored six straight point to build a double-digit lead as Tobie score on a layup for a 19-9 advantage midway through the opening half.
Hamilton would battle back trimming the lead to 23-20 with 3:20 remaining before Montclair closed out the half with a 13-4 run. Janitza Aquino (Kearny, NJ / Kearny) and Colleen Kelly (Rockaway, NJ / Morris Hills) each had a bucket to begin the run and a three-point play by Tobie with 38 ticks made the score 33-24. Ericson drained a three-pointer with 22 second to go as Montclair led 36-24 at the break.
Ericson finished with nine points in the first half and needed just two to reach the 1,000-point mark. But the senior struggled in the second half missing all seven attempts, however she grabbed five rebounds helping MSU extend its lead to 18 points with 11:56 left on a jumper by Towns.
Hamilton would get back within seven points with two minutes remaining but a three-pointer by Michelle Montagna (New Providence, NJ / New Providence) with 1:11 on the clock made the score 68-55 and all but ended any hopes of a comeback. The only matter still in doubt was whether Ericson would reach the millenium plateau.
That would be answered with 30 seconds left as Ericson was fouled an went to the line sitting on 998 points. A career, 76.0 percent shooter at the charity stripe, Ericson calmly sank both attempts giving her 1,000 career points.
Montagna chipped in with nine points off the bench while Kelly totaled six points, 10 rebounds, two blocks and four steals.
The Red Hawks return to New Jersey and start off the 2012 calendar year with an important contest on Wednesday, January 4. Montclair State hosts No. 4/6 and unbeaten William Paterson at the Panzer Athletic Center at 6:00 pm.