Women's Basketball Suffers Second Straight Loss, 66-63

Montclair, NJ (12/7/09) – Junior guard Simona Gordon (Cambridge, MA / Cambridge Rindge& Latin) scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds leading four players in double figures as Manhattanville College won its third straight as the Valiants knocked off Montclair State, 66-63 in non-conference action at the Panzer Athletic Center on Monday evening.

Senior forward Nina Johnson (White Plains, NY / White Plains) posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds as the Valiants moved to 5-3 on the second with their second straight win over MSU. Manhattanville is now 2-4 all time against Montclair State.

Junior forward Kisandra Ayanbeku (Brockton, MA / Randolph) added a double-double with a game-high 18 points along with 10 rebounds for the Red Hawks, who suffered their second straight loss following a four-game winning streak. Montclair is now 4-3 on the year.

Six ties in the first 10 minutes had the game at 17-17 when the Valiants’ Taylor Wilson (Pearl River, NY / Pearl River) scored on a layup to spark a 6-0 run by Manhattanville. Wilson would add two foul shots before Gordon scored from in close as Manhattanville went up 23-17 with 8:59 left in the opening period.  Montclair State would tie the game at 25-25 on the strength of a 6-0 run of its own. Jackie Berry (Tuckerton, NJ / Pinelands Regional) hit a free throw to get things going and Jaime Ericson (Flemington, NJ / Hunterdon Central) drained a three before a layup by Berry tied the game at 25-25 with 5:19 left.

A running jumper by freshman Rhonda Sharif (Cliffside Park, NJ / Cliffside Park) put Montclair in front 30-29, but Kelli Hyjek’s (Tolland, CT / Tolland) jumper with 50 second left gave the Valiants as 31-30 lead at the break.

Mnahattanville, which led through the entire second half, quickly pushed its lead to 42-34 on a Hyjek layup with 16:22 to go. The Valiants would see that lead dwindle to three points twice, but a 13-4 run over a six-minute stretch widened the lead to 57-46 with 7:12 remaining. The Red Hawks would make one last run. Trailing 60-51 with 3:23 to play, Berry and Cristino each scored layups to pull MSU within 60-55. After a free throw by Carey Hickey (Dobbs Ferry, NY / Dobbs Ferry), Cristino answered with two of her own as MSU made it 61-57 with 2:09 left.

Montclair had a chance to close the gap further, but an offensive foul negated a basket and Johnson turned that into points for Manhattanville as the Valiants went back up 63-57 with a minute to play. Cristino’s three-pointer cut the margin back to 63-60, however Hickey’s two free throws and one from Hyjek with seconds left sealed the win for Manhattanville. Ericson connected from three-point range with three seconds left for the final margin.

Carol Ortiz (Naugatuck, CT/ Amity) added 11 points and rebounds for Manhttanville, which got 10 points and a pair of blocked shots from Courtney Turner (Staten Island, NY / Ralph McKee). Hyjek chipped in with nine points off the bench.

Cristino and Ericson each had 12 points for Montclair State. Jamilee Pflug (Clark, NJ / Arthur L. Johnson) collected nine points while Berry recorded seven along with five rebounds and eight assists.

Montclair State returns to action on Wednesday, December 9 as the Red Hawks head to Baruch College for a 7:00 pm tipoff against the Bearcats. Manhattanville is now off until Saturday, January 2 when the Valiants face Cabrini College in the Juniata College Holiday Tournament.