Cristino Hits 1,000-Point Mark as Women's Basketball Downs Rutgers-Newark, 61-45

Montclair, NJ (2/3/10) – Senior forward Catherine Cristino (Farmingdale, NJ / Colts Neck) scored a game-high 21 points, including the 1,000th of her career as Montclair State clinched a berth in the NJAC Tournament with a 61-45 victory over Rutgers-Newark at the Panzer Athletic Center on Wednesday evening.

Junior guard Jamilee Pflug (Clark, NJ / Arthur L. Johnson) added 13 points and five rebounds as Montclair State won its second straight moving to 13-8 on the year. The Red Hawks also upped their record to 7-3 in the NJAC North, four games ahead of third-place New Jersey City in the division with three games remaining. The top three teams from each division advance to the NJAC Tournament which gets underway on February 20.

Cristino became the 15th player in MSU women’s basketball history to reach the 1,000-point mark as she drained a three-pointer from the top of the key with six minutes remaining in the first half as MSU connected on its first 10 shots and led 38-19 at the break. Cristino had 1,016 points in her career.

Montclair State opened the game on an 11-2 run, including the first six points of the game. Pflug scored six seconds into the contest and Jaime Ericson (Flemington, NJ / Hunterdon Central) added a basket before Ayanbeku’s jumper with 18:35 left gave MSU the six-point lead. Following a Rutgers-Newark basket, Pflug drained a shot from behind the arc and then followed with a layup the next time down as MSU would eventually go up 21-5 in the first eight minutes of the game.

The lead would get  as large 19 points before Rutgers-Newark trimmed that back a bit as Keira Williams (Parlin, NJ / Sayreville War Memorial) hit from three-point range to make the score 29-17 with 6:19 to play before half. On the next trip down for MSU, Cristino, who his second all-time in three-point field goals, connected for her 82nd three putting her at exactly 1,000 points.

After shooting 67 percent in the first half, Montclair cooled off a bit while Rutgers-Newark began hitting from behind the arc as the Scarlet Raiders connected eight times from three-point range, one more basket than they made inside the line. Martyna Ruminska (Kearny, NJ / Kearny) had four of those three-pointers as she scored 14 of her 16 points over the final 20 minutes.

Despite the good shooting, Montclair held the Scarlet Raiders off as Rutgers-Newark would only get as close at 11 points the rest of the way.

Kisandra Ayanbeku (Brockton, MA / Randolph) added a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds as Montclair shot 51 percent (25-of-49) from the floor and outrebounded Rutgers-Newark, 38-28. Jackie Berry (Tuckerton, NJ / Pinelands Regional) added six rebounds and eight steals while Cristino collected six of her own.

Both teams return to action on Saturday, February 6 with NJAC contests. Montclair State is on the road in Mahwah to take on Ramapo College at the Bradley Center beginning at 1:00 pm. Rutgers-Newark is home in the Golden Dome taking on New Jersey City University at 6:00 pm.