Second-Half Rally by No. 9 WPU Ends Women's Basketball Win Streak

Box Score

Montclair, NJ (1/20/10) – Sophomore guard BriAnna Lucas (Hamilton, NJ / Nottingham) scored five of her team-high 19 points during a decisive 24-6 run in the second half as No. 9/11 William Paterson turned a 10-point deficit into a seven-point victory, upending Montclair State 67-60 in a key New Jersey Athletic Conference North Division battle at the Panzer Athletic Center on Wednesday evening.

Senior guard Julie Haledjian (Montvale, NJ / Pascack Hills) added 17 points and five rebounds as the Pioneers took over the lead in the North Division with their third straight victory. WPU is now 17-1 overall, 5-1 in the NJAC, a half-game ahead of Montclair State in the division.

Junior forward Kisandra Ayanbeku (Brockton, MA / Randolph) recorded her seventh double-double of the season with 20 points and 15 rebounds as MSU had its four-game winning streak snapped with the loss. Montclair fell to 11-6 overall (5-1 NJAC) with four of those coming against teams ranked in the Top 10.

Montclair State led 27-25 at the hald and quickly boosted that lead to 10 points as 38-28 on a layup by Ayanbeku with 17:20 remaining. The Red Hawks would maintain that lead over the next three minutes and led 44-34 on Ayanbeku’s 10th point of the half.

But William Paterson began chipping away at the deficit and then turned that into a huge run over a nine-minute span. Lucas ignited everything with a three-pointer and later added a free throw to pull the Pioneers within 44-41. After consecutive baskets by MSU’s Catherine Cristino (Farmingdale, NJ / Colts Neck) and Jamilee Pflug (Clark, NJ / Arthur L. Johnson), Erin Cook (Princeton, NJ / Princeton) countered with three points in a mini 6-0 run as William Paterson pulled within 48-47 with 8:36 to play. Montclair got back two at the foul line, however Cook added two more foul shots and Danielle Sindorf (Burlington, NJ / Burlington) connected on a jumper as the Pioneers took the lead 51-50 with 7:49 left.

Elisa Brown (Norwalk, CT / Norwalk) added a layup and Allyson Scerbo (Phillipsburg, NJ / Phillipsburg) a jumper before Haledjian’s three pointer capped the run as William Paterson led 58-50 with 5:36 on the clock. Montclair State would get within two at 58-5 on Ayanbeku’s  layup, but Haledjian and Cook each hit layups to restore the lead to 56-52 with 48 seconds to play.

Cook finished with 10 points and nine rebounds off the bench for William Paterson, which held a decisive edge at the foul line. The Pioneers were 16-of-27 from the charity stripe compared to Montclair’s 7-of-12.

Cristino had a game-high 21 points for Montclair whilce guard Jackie Berry (Tuckerton, NJ / Pinelands Regional) added six points, four rebounds and eight assists.

Both teams are back in action on Saturday, January 23 with NJAC contests. Montclair State heads out on the road for a 1:00 pm matchup against The College of New Jersey at Packer Hall in Ewing, NJ. William Paterson is home in Wayne to face Rutgers-Camden at 3:00 pm.