Mahwah, NJ (2/15/12) – Sophomore guard Theresa Towns (Morristown, NJ / Morristown) scored a season-high 21 points as Montclair State clinched the No. 2 seed out of the NJAC North Division and first-round home court advantage in the conference tournament with a 61-49 victory over Ramapo at the Bradley Center on Wednesday evening.
Senior Jaime Ericson (Flemington, NJ / Hunterdon Central) finished with 14 points and five rebounds as the Red Hawks closed out the regular season at 18-7 overall, 9-4 in the NJAC after starting their conference slate at 1-3.
MSU, which has won 10 of its last 11 games, will host either Richard Stockton or Rowan in the opening round of the tournament on Saturday, February 18. Tip off at the Panzer Athletic Center is slated for 1:00 pm.
Montclair State defeated Rowan in its regular-season meeting on January 21, 62-58 holding off the Profs late. The Red Hawks lost at Richard Stockton 76-67 in December however that decision was reversed to a forfeit win for Montclair after the Ospreys had used an ineligible player in that contest.
Needing a victory to claim a home contest in the NJAC Tournament, Montclair State jumped out to a 9-0 lead early. Towns scored the final four points in the opening run as MSU increased that lead to 13-3 with 15:21 left on a jumper by Ericson. The Red Hawks maintained that advantage through the first half and took a 32-22 lead into the break.
In the second half, Ramapo kept Montclair off the scoreboard through the first 6:30 of the period and recorded the first 10 points tying the game 32-32 on Alayna Donadio’s layup. Towns gave the Red Hawks the lead back however the Roadrunners countered with the next five points to take a 37-34 lead.
The Roadrunners led 39-38 with 11:37 to before Montclair State went on a 9-1 run to retake the lead for good. Freshman Melissa Tobie (Elizabeth, NJ / Roselle Catholic) hit a jumper and Towns sank two from the line for a 42-39 lead. After a foul shot by Ramapo, Tobie converted a three-point play and Towns hit twice more at the charity stripe as Montclair built a 47-40 lead with 9:59 remaining.
After the Roadrunners answered with two free throws, the Red Hawks put the game away with a nine-point run to push its lead to 14 with just over seven minutes to go. Ericson began the run with a three-point play and back-to-back jumpers by Towns extended the MSU lead to 56-42 with 7:11 left.
Tobie had 13 points and five rebounds for MSU, which got six steals from Towns. Junior Taylor Jeffers (Franklin, NJ / Franklin Township) grabbed eight rebounds for the Red Hawks.