Women's Basketball Heads to ECAC Championship Game

Montclair, NJ (3/8/08) – Senior guard Jessica Garrabrant (Denville, NJ / Morris Knolls) posted a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds while junior guard Marianne McGovern (Fair Lawn, NJ / Paramus Catholic) scored 14 of her 20 in the second half as top-seed and defending champion Montclair State moved into the championship game of the ECAC Division III Metro Women’s Basketball Tournament with a 74-65 victory over FDU-Florham at Panzer Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon.

Freshman Jamilee Pflug (Clark, NJ / Arthur L. Johnson) added 10 points and six steals for the Red Hawks, who host No. 3 seed Stevens in the championship game on Sunday, March 9 at 2:00 pm. It will be the second meeting of the season between MSU and Stevens with Montclair posting a 77-74 overtime win over the Ducks at Panzer Gymnasium on February 15.

MSU will be seeking its sixth ECAC crown while looking to become the first repeat champion since New York University in 2002 and 2003. It will also be the Red Hawks seventh championship game trip in 14 appearances in the tournament. Montclair also avenged a 62-53 loss to FDU-Florham in the 2005 opening round.

Junior guard Emily Cernakowski (Easton, PA / Notre Dame) had a game-high 24 points to go along with nine rebounds as the Devils closed out the year at 18-11, setting a school record for wins. FDU-Florham was making its 10th appearance in the tournament and was looking to reach its second championship game. The Devils fell to NYU in the 2005 title contest.

Montclair State scored the first 12 points of the contest and held a 34-16 halftime lead before pushing that margin to 43-20 as McGovern scored on a layup with 16:36 remaining. MSU’s Kisandra Ayanbeku (Burlington, MA / Randolph) added another layup with 12:46 to make the score, 51-29 however the Devils went on a 17-2 over the next seven minutes to trim the lead to seven. Cerankowski, who had seven points in the spurt, began the run with two free throws and Danielle Micholvsky’s (Wind Gap, PA / Bethlehem Catholic) layup with 6:01 left brought FDU-Florham within 53-46.

McGovern would quiet that run with two foul shots and then stole the inbounds pass and added a layup as Montclair extended its lead back to 57-46, but FDU-Florham made one more charge getting within 64-59 with 1:52 to play as Courtney Young (Bayonne, NJ/ Bayonne) banked in a jumper. Pflug answered for MSU with a layup and combined with McGovern on four straight free throws as Montclair boosted its lead back to 70-59 with 57 seconds remaining.

McGovern added two assists and four steals as she made all 10 of her free throws in the second half and was 12-of-13 at the line for the game. Catherine Cristino (Farmingdale, NJ/Colts Neck) and Ayanbeku each posted six points as Montclair was 23-of-31 from the free throw line, 19-of-26 in the second half.

Young registered 14 points and four rebounds as FDU rebounded from a tough first-half shooting performance (3-of-16) and was 18-of-37 over the final 20 minutes. Michlovsky added a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds to go along with two blocked shots.