Second-Half Turnaround Leads Women's Basketball over F&M at Marymount Tournament

Arlington, VA (1/2/10) – Junior forward Kisandra Ayanbeku (Brockton, MA / Randolph) posted a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds leading four players in double figures as Montclair State turned on the offense and defense in the second half for a 61-49 victory over Franklin and Marshall in the opening round of the Marymount Holiday Classic on Saturday afternoon.

Senior forward Catherine Cristino (Farmingdale, NJ / Colts Neck) added 15 points for the Red Hawks (7-4) as they won their second straight and moved into the championship game on Sunday, January 3. MSU will face host Marymount at 5:00 pm.

The Red Hawks struggled in the first half shooting just 8-of-28 (29 percent) from the floor including 2-of-12 from behind the arc, but battled enough to be down only by three, 23-20 at halftime.

The second half however would see MSU turn its fortunes around at both ends of the floor.  The Red Hawks shot 52 percent (10-of-19) from the field and converted 18-of-21 chances at the charity stripe. At the defensive end, Montclair forced the F&M (5-4) into 8-of-28 shooting.

MSU trailed through the first eight-plus minutes, but took the lead at 32-31 as Cristino converted a layup with 11:40 left in the contest. The game would be played within one points and tied four times over the next five minutes before Franklin and Marshall went up 40-38 on a layup by Alison Menna.

Junior guard Jamilee Pflug (Clark, NJ / Arthur L. Johnson) answered right back with a three-pointer igniting a 10-0 run as Montclair took the lead for good. Ayanbeku followed with the next seven points as the Red Hawks pulled in front 48-40 with 3:44 left.

The Diplomat’s Megan Pauley broke the spurt with a jumper on the next possession, but MSU managed to boost the lead back to 54-42 on two foul shots by Jaime Ericson (Flemington, NJ / Hunterdon Central) with 2:35 left.

Ericson finished with 13 points and three rebounds for the Red Hawks, who got 12 points and six assists from Pflug.