Women's Basketball Upended by Rutgers-Newark

Newark, NJ (2/6/08) Senior guard Nerlande Nicolas (Maplewood, NJ/Columbia HS) had 20 points, five assists and three steals as Rutgers-Newark rode a first-half surge to a 60-48 New Jersey Athletic Conference women’s basketball victory over Montclair State. 

Nicolas and senior center Stephanie Ross (Nutley, NJ/Nutley), who had eight of her 15 points in the opening period,  had four points each during a decisive 21-4 Scarlet Raider run which staked Rutgers-Newark to a 24-9 lead with 6:53 left in the opening period.  Senior reserve forward Toni Roselli (Garfield, NJ/St. Mary’s) wrapped up the spurt by dropping in a pair of 3-point jumpers around a trey by junior guard Youngor Kehleay (Eatontown, NJ/Monmouth Regional). 

After Rutgers-Newark led 37-21 at the half, Nicolas and Ross again had four points apiece during a 10-0 run early in the second period to lead 47-23. Montclair State sophomore guard Kisandra Ayanbeku (Burlington, MA/Randolph) had four of her team-high 11 points as the Red Hawks took advantage of an 8:15 scoreless streak by the Raiders to get back into the fray at 49-38.   But, 11 was as close as the visitors would get. 

Senior forward Eni Fageyinbo (Morris Plains, NJ/Parsippany Hills) had a team-high eight rebounds to go along with eight points and Roselli also finished with eight points. 

The Red Hawks got a game-high 10 rebounds, eight points and three steals from senior forward Jessica Garrabrant (Denville, NJ/Morris Knolls) and nine points, five rebounds and three blocked shots from sophomore forward Catherine Cristino (Farmingdale, NJ/Colts Neck). 

The win boosted Rutgers-Newark (17-4, NJAC 6-3) into sole possession of second place in the NJAC North Division while the Red Hawks (12-8, NJAC 5-4) are still in a position of strength to gain one of three divisional berths for the upcoming championship tournament. 

The Red Hawks and Raiders split their regular-season home-and-home matchup.


Montclair State returns home to Panzer Gymnasium on Saturday, February 9 to host the Profs of Rowan University at 2:00 pm. It will be a special day for the women's program as MSU will host its annual Alumni Game at 11:00 am. It is also "Think Pink" day Montclair State women's basketball team and the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's (WBCA) "Think Pink" initiative. Tickets for the game are $5 for adults and $2 for students, children and seniors. However, if you attend the game wearing pink, admission will be just $2. All proceeds from the game will be donated to the Kay Yow / WBCA Breast Cancer Fund.