Montclair State survives late rally by Stevens 62-58
Returning to the action after almost a week off due to the Thanksgiving break, the Montclair State Red Hawks welcomed in Stevens Institute of Technology into the Panzer Athletic Center on Monday night.
The Red Hawks did not display any rust early on jumping out to a 17-11 advantage after the first quarter. In the second quarter, Montclair State extended the margin to double digits due to dominating the paint and sizzling shooting from beyond the arc. Alex McKinnon(11 points) and Domonique Wirsing(10 points) led the charge pouring in 21 points as the Red Hawks led 32-20 at the break.
In the first half, Montclair State shot 54 percent from the perimeter while holding Stevens to 23 percent. Entering the contest, the Ducks were led in scoring by Jess Broad at 19 point per game while Anna Toke was second on the team with 9.6. The Red Hawks did a terrific job defensively holding Broad and Toke to a combined seven points.
“I thought in the first half we did such a nice job defensively, kept the pressure on and able to keep Toke out of the game a little bit and took Jess Broad out of what she wanted to do, said Head Coach Karin Harvey.
However, the Ducks came out of the locker room in the third quarter a different squad. The Red Hawks still managed to bump the margin up to 46-32 with less than three minutes remaining on a trey from Rylee Mulligan. Toke sank a pair of free throws to trim the deficit to 49-41 going into the fourth quarter.
That is when Stevens amped up the pressure defensively forcing Montclair State into committing rash of turnovers. Held to five points in the first, Toke exploded for 14 in the second half including a spin around jay reducing the deficit to 54-49 with five minutes left. The Ducks kept charging ahead whittling the advantage down to two points on a lay-up by Allie Moss with 3:36.
Domonique Wirising interrupted the spree knocking down a pair of free throws making it 60-56 2:22 to go. Stevens refused to throw in the towel with Moss draining a jumper with 31 seconds. McKinnon salted the game away hitting two free throws in the waning seconds as Montclair State won their third consecutive game in a row and finishing with a game high 21 points including four of five from three-point land while Wirising added 18 points and Taylor Brown contributed 10 points.
“It wasn’t pretty but we got out to a nice lead and able to hang on to that, Harvey said. All about guts and hung on tough at the end. Second half Anna Toke did a really nice job, tough on the inside and couldn’t get her out of the post and she was able to score”
“The free throws down the stretch were, we shot the ball really well at 50% and 57% from the three-point line. That certainly helped us out and extremely efficient but we turned the ball over way too much. I have young kids in the floor but they are going to make mistakes and gave their best effort and trying to get better every day and game. We found advantage with free throws and rebounding”
“Dom and Alex really stepped up and played like upper classmen and had really nice games. Alex is very versatile, she can score on the inside, really great from the three-point line when she steps out and shooting the ball with a lot of confidence”
Montclair State(4-1, 1-0 NJAC) returns to conference play on Wednesday night hosting Ramapo College at the Panzer Athletic Center with tip-off slated for 6:00 p.m. The Roadrunners are also off to a 4-0(0-1 NJAC) start this season.
“Ramapo is really playing well and runs this motion offense which is difficult to defend and running around the whole game so we’re going to have to really communicate, said Harvey. Defensively they really pack it in so we’re going to have to get a lot of easy baskets and important to try to get out in transition and shoot the ball from the outside”
Sunil Sunder Raj
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