Second-Half Burst Paces Women's Basketball Over NJCU

Jersey City, NJ (2/4/09) - Montclair State University outscored New Jersey City University in the second half, 41-23 to break open a three-point game and defeated the Gothic Knights, 67-46, in a New Jersey Athletic Conference North Division women’s basketball game on Wednesday night on Charlie Brown Court at the John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center.

Montclair (14-7, 8-2 NJAC) moved a half game in front of idle William Paterson University (7-2) for first place in the North Division and clinched no worse than the No. 2 seed in the division with Rutgers-Newark falling at Ramapo. MSU won its third straight game and defeated NJCU (4-18, 1-9 NJAC) for the 12th straight meeting. The Red Hawks lead the all-time series, 43-3.

The Gothic Knights led for most of the first half and were ahead by four in the period before MSU gained a 26-23 halftime lead. They were still within three points with 13:45 left in the contest, but with only six healthy players dressing, eventually succumbed to fatigue and foul trouble against the deeper Red Hawks.In defeat, NJCU freshman guard Ebony Cunningham (East Orange, NJ/East Orange Campus) collected her sixth career double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds in 37 minutes. Freshman guard Lashawn Overton (Jersey City, NJ/Snyder) also scored a game-high 13 points, adding five assists and three steals in a full 40 minutes of action. 

The Red Hawks only had one player reach double figures in scoring but capitalized on their deep bench, with all but one of their 12 players contributing points.  MSU was led by junior forward Kisandra Ayanbeku (Burlington, MA/Randolph) who dropped in 10 points in addition to six rebounds, three assists, and three steals in 30 minutes of action.

Senior guard Marianne McGovern (Fair Lawn, NJ/Paramus Catholic) added nine points. Junior guard Jackie Berry (Tuckerton, NJ/ Pinelands Regional) tallied eight points, with eight defensive boards, seven assists and three steals.  Sophomore guard Jamilee Pflug (Clark, NJ/Arthur L. Johnson) had eight points and six rebounds. 

Also for NJCU, junior forward Shayla Daniels (Jersey City, NJ/Lincoln) grabbed 12 rebounds and scored six points before fouling out. She has 48 rebounds in her last three games and notched her eighth double digit rebounding game of the year—accomplishing the feat for the seventh time in the last 10 games. Junior guard Carolina Garcia (Plainfield, NJ / Franklin) scored eight points while playing a full 40 minutes for the 10th time this season and the seventh time in eight games.               

NJCU led by four at several junctures of the opening period, including 21-17 off a Garcia triple with 3:55 left before MSU freshman guard Jaime Ericson (Flemington, NJ/Hunterdon Central) knocked down back-to-back threes in a span of 33 seconds. While MSU’s leading scorer would miss the other seven shots she would take, and was limited to six points, those triples gave the Hawks the lead for good. Tied 23-23, McGovern hit a three to account for the halftime margin as MSU finished the period on a 9-2 spurt.

MSU pulled in front by eight with 14:47 left in the second half before a Cunningham jumper and Garcia triple made it a 33-30 contest. But MSU scored 10 of the next 12 points, including six points off the bench from freshman guard Jenna Totaro (Secaucus, NJ/Secaucus), and moved in front by 11, 43-32, with 11:04 remaining. NJCU couldn’t draw closer than eight the remainder of the game. MSU shot 48.4 percent in the second half (15-31); its largest lead of the game was the final score.

Montclair returns to action on Saturday, February 7 as MSU plays its final regular-season home game against Ramapo College at the MSU Student Recreation Center beginning at 1:00 pm. It will be a “Pink Zone” as Montclair helps in the battle against breast cancer. MSU will be wearing Pink T-Shirts during their warmups and those same shirts will also be on sale. All proceeds from the game will be donated to the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund™.