Women's Basketball Rally Against No. 5 Scranton Falls Short

Montclair, NJ (11/15/09) .—The University of Scranton held off a late rally to defeat Montclair State University, 71-65, in the season opener for both teams Sunday afternoon at Panzer Gymnasium.

Lady Royal junior guard Megan Kopecki (Millington, N.J./Watchung Hills Regional) picked up where she left off last season, scoring a game-high 22 points on 9 of 14 shooting from the field and finishing with five assists and four rebounds. Scranton, now 1-1, also received 11 points and a career-high 11 rebounds from junior forward Courtney Roselle (Cedar Grove, N.J./Mount Saint Dominic Academy) and 10 points from first-year forward Tayler Pallotta (Dunmore, Pa./Dunmore).

Junior guard Jamilee Pflug (Clark, N.J./Arthur L. Johnson) led the Red Hawks, now 0-1, with 21 points, sophomore guard Jaime Ericson (Flemington, N.J./Hunterdon Central) added 11 points—all in the second—and junior forward Kisandra Ayanbeku (Brockton, Mass./Randolph) finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.

For nearly 35 minutes, the Lady Royals looked like a team ranked in the top five in two national polls, building a 15-point halftime lead and extending it to 21 points with 12 minutes remaining.

The Red Hawks, however, continued to chip away and cut Scranton’s margin under 10 with less than four minutes remaining. The final score was the closest Montclair State would get since the 17-minute mark of the first half. Kopecki and Roselle combined to score eight of the Lady Royals’ final 13 points to hold off the Red Hawks’ bid to pull out the upset.

The Lady Royals shot a respectable 48.3 percent from the field, but, like many times last year, struggled at the free throw line, making just 10 of 20 attempts (50 percent). Scranton also turned the ball over 19 times.

Montclair State also had its problems at the charity stripe, making only 18 of 33 free throw attempts (54.5 percent). The Red Hawks were also guilty of 17 turnovers. The Red Hawks return to action on Friday, November 20 as they head to Massachusetts for the Emerson College Tip-Off. MSU will face Suffolk at 5:30 pm with the consolation/championship games slated for Saturday, November 21 at 1:00 and 3:00 pm, respectively.