WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Senior wing Chevannah Paalvast (Auckland, New Zealand/Massey) scored a game-high 20 points, including a jumper that put the Hawks ahead for good with 2:02 remaining in regulation as the Monmouth University women’s basketball team defeated the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, 67-65, Tuesday night at the Multipurpose Activity Center. With the win, Monmouth improves to 1-7, while UMES falls to 3-4. Monmouth enjoyed a 36-14 edge in points in the paint en route to the victory.
Paalvast also added a game-high three blocks to go along with three assists. Danica Dragicevic (Belgrade, Serbia/XV Beogradska Gimnazija) contributed a season-high nine points and four rebounds, while Shira Shecht (Pardessiya, Israel/Hadassim) had eight points and a team-high six rebounds. Jasmine Walker (North Brunswick, N.J./North Brunswick) and Mia Hopkins (Pittston, Pa./Pittston Area) each scored eight points and dished out four assists, with Hopkins grabbing five rebounds and Walker corralling four boards. Kasey Chambers (Belmar, N.J./St. Rose) also contributed seven points and four rebounds.
UMES was led by Shawnee Sweeney in the scoring column with 13 points, while Chalyse Taylor (12), Alexis Udoji (10) and TeAmber Burke (10) also scored in double figures. Udoji completed a double-double with 10 rebounds, while Ashleigh Claybrooks contributed 10 rebounds. Jessica Long, who entered the game averaging a team-high 19.3 points per game, was limited to eight points and four assists.
After Shecht knocked down a three at the 19:25 mark to open the scoring, UMES led 10-9 following back-and-forth action in the first four and a half minutes. UMES followed with 12 of the next 15 points to take a 21-12 advantage on Taylor’s three at the 10:42 mark. A Walker conventional three-point play and Hopkins bucket in the lane cut the deficit down to 21-17. Monmouth continued to whittle away at the UMES lead with a Chambers three-pointer with the shot clock running down, a Hopkins lay-up while being fouled and a tough Shecht drive to tie the game at 24-24 with 6:57 left to play in the first. Following a UMES free throw, Monmouth went on a 10-0 run, including a pair of buckets on the interior from Dragicevic.
Monmouth took a 36-28 lead into the locker room at halftime. All five starters scored at least five points, led by six each from Dragicevic, Paalvast and Walker, as well as six more off the bench from Hopkins. Shecht and Chambers scored five each. Monmouth took a 20-2 edge in points in the paint in the initial stanza. Hopkins paced MU with four first-half rebounds to go along with three assists. Burke led UMES with seven points in the first half, while Taylor had six points.
Monmouth pushed its lead to as many as 12 points, 50-38, on the strength of a 9-2 run capped by Paalvast with a three-pointer at the 13:51 mark of the second half. But a 6-0 UMES run immediately followed and Maryland Eastern Shore scored 15 of the next 18 points to tie the game at 53-53 with 6:17 left to play. Long scored four points in the spurt, including the game-tying bucket.
But Paalvast had the immediate response with a three-pointer and Shecht followed with a pull-up 14-footer in the paint to reestablish a five-point Monmouth cushion. UMES again had a response with consecutive three-pointers by Sweeney and Taylor to take a 61-60 lead with 3:08 to play.
On Monmouth’s next possession, Hopkins threaded the needle inside to set up Sophie Beaudry (Chambly, Quebec/College-Notre Dame de Lourdes) for an easy lay-up, putting MU back on top, 62-61. Udoji made 1-of-2 free throws to tie the game at 62-62, before Paalvast hit a pull-up baseline jumper to give Monmouth the lead for good, 64-62, with 2:02 left in regulation. Claybrooks made 1-of-2 free throws with 1:18 left to cut the deficit to one, but after a miss on Monmouth’s offensive end, Paalvast rejected Long’s drive to the bucket, Chambers got the rebound and was fouled with 18.7 seconds left. The sophomore floor general calmly knocked down both free throws, before Monmouth got another stop and Shecht made 1-of-2 free throws, making it a two-possession game with 11 seconds left.
Udoji scored in the paint and was fouled with 0.3 seconds remaining and UMES trailing, 67-65. Her only choice was to miss intentionally and hope for a tip-in. However, the rebound was knocked away and Monmouth held on for the victory.
For the game, Monmouth outshot UMES, 44.8 percent (26-58) to 35.0 percent (21-60) from the floor, 45.5 percent (5-11) to 42.3 percent (11-26) from long range and 62.5 percent (10-16) to 52.2 percent (12-23) from the free-throw line. MU outrebounded Maryland Eastern Shore, 42-40, and enjoyed a 36-14 edge in points in the paint.
The Hawks return to action at home on Saturday, Dec. 14 when they play host to former conference foe LIU Brooklyn. Tip-off from the Multipurpose Activity Center is scheduled for 3 p.m.