Women's Basketball Tabbed No. 1 Seed for ECAC Tournament

Montclair, NJ (3/3/08) The Montclair State women's basketball team will get a chance to defend its ECAC Metro championship as the Red Hawks were tabbed as the No. 1 seed for the tournament, which begins on Wednesday, March 5. MSU (17-10) will face No. 8 seed Mt. St. Vincent at Panzer Gymnasium on Wednesday at 7:30 pm.

The MSU-Mt. St. Vincent contest will be one of four opening-round games on Wednesday. Rutgers-Newark (19-7), seeded No. 2, will face seventh-seeded College of Staten Island (20-7) while No. 3 seed Stevens (21-6) hosts No. 6 seed Lehman College (17-11). Fourth-seeded Farmingdale State (19-6) battles No. 5 seed FDU-Florham (17-10) in final first-round game with the winner taking on the Montclair-Mt. St. Vincent winner in the semifinals on Saturday, March

The championship game is slated for Sunday, March 9 at the site of the highest remaining seed.

Montclair State enters the game at 17-10 overall and was second in the NJAC North Division during the regular season. The Red Hawks, under first-year head coach Karin Harvey, knocked off Rowan in the opening round of the NJAC Tournament before losing to NCAA Tournament participant The College of New Jersey in the semifinals. Senior Jessica Garrabrant ( Denville, NJ / Morris Knolls) was named Second-Team All-NJAC while sophomore Catherine Cristino ( Farmingdale, NJ / Colts Neck) was selected Honorable Mention.

Mt. St. Vincent enters the game at 21-6 under first-year head coach Zach Kancher. The Dolphins finished third in the Skyline Conference during the regular season at 14-4 and defeated Old Westbury in the quarterfinals of the league tournament before falling to Farmingdale State in the semifinals, 60-57. Sophomores Courtney Heesemann (15.4 ppg, 8.6 rpg) and Lauren Percodani (9.5 ppg, 136 assists) were recently honored by conference as Percodani was named First Team All-Skyline, while Heesemann was named to the league’s Second Team.

It is the first post-season berth for the Mt. St. Vincent women’s team, which has posted winning streaks of five, six and eight games this season.

This will be the first meeting between the Red Hawks and Dolphins and the two share common opponents in Arcadia and Mt. St. Mary. Both teams defeated Arcadia with Montclair State going 2-0 while CMSV recorded a 56-46 win. In addition each faced Mt. St. Mary and fell to defeat. Montclair lost to the Lady Knights, 75-52 back in November while the Dolphins suffered two losses in Skyline play.

This will be Montclair State’s 14 th appearance in the ECAC Metro Tournament as the Red Hawks have compiled a record of 15-9, including four titles – 1991, 1994, 1999 and 2007. MSU had also finished as the runner-up twice. Last year, Montclair claimed the championship as the Red Hawks knocked off John Jay (71-53) and Richard Stockton (65-50) before topping Farmingdale State, 85-70 in the title game.

Against the field this season, Montclair has faced Stevens and Rutgers-Newark going 3-1 against those opponents. MSU defeated the Ducks in the first meeting between the two, 77-74 in overtime on February 15. The Red Hawks split their season series with the Scarlet Raiders recording a 60-53 win at Panzer Gymnasium on February 9 and falling 60-48 in Newark on February 6. Montclair is 39-5 all-time against Rutgers-Newark. MSU is 3-2 versus Farmingdale with two of those games coming in ECAC play (2006 semifinals and 2007 championship game) and 3-1 versus FDU-Florham as the two last met in the 2005 ECAC semifinals with the Devils coming out on top, 62-53. Montclair is 4-0 against Staten Island, including a 57-45 win versus the Dolphins in the 2006 opening round and the Red Hawks have captured eight of nine against Lehman (88-32 in the last meeting in 2004).