WOMEN'S BASKETBALL HOLDS OFF ST. FRANCIS BROOKLYN, 68-64
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, N.Y. - Alysha Womack (Springfield, Pa./Cardinal O'Hara) scored 21 points and Gabby Singer (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) added a season-high 16 points as the Monmouth University women's basketball team defeated St. Francis Brooklyn, 68-64, Monday afternoon at the Pope Physical Education Center. With the 21 points, Womack (1,330 points) moved into fifth all-time on the Monmouth scoring list, passing Sue Shea (1,329 points). The Hawks move to 7-10 (4-2 NEC) with the win, while St. Francis falls to 6-11 (3-3 NEC).
Singer and Womack also finished with a team-high four assists each, while Singer also had a team-high five rebounds and four steals. Womack also added four boards. Singer scored her 16 points very efficiently, going 5-for-7 from the floor, including 2-for-3 from long range, and 4-for-6 from the free-throw line. The Hawks used a full-court pressure defense to force the Terriers into 21 turnovers on the afternoon.
Jaymee Veney led St. Francis with 14 points and six rebounds, while Sarah Benedetti, Jessica Kaufman and Leah Fechko added nine points apiece. Katie Fox dished out a game-high seven assists.
After St. Francis took an early 5-0 lead and Abigail Martin (Maplewood, N.J./Columbia) went out with a quick second personal foul at the 18:22 mark, Monmouth responded with full-court pressure and a 16-0 run to take a 16-5 lead at the 13:06 mark. Five different Hawks scored in the run, led by four points apiece from Chevannah Paalvast (Auckland, New Zealand/Massey) and Womack, and capped by Singer's three-pointer from the top of the key. The lead swelled to 15, 28-13, as Paalvast knocked down a long jumper, stole the inbounds pass and fed Thibault for a lay-up at the 7:19 mark.
A 6-0 St. Francis run whittled the Hawks' lead down to nine by the 3:15 mark, but Paalvast's jumper in the paint bumped the lead back to double digits and the Hawks went into the locker room at halftime leading, 33-23. Womack led all scorers at the break with nine points, while Carly Thibault (East Lyme, Conn./East Lyme) and Paalvast added eight points apiece. The Hawks shot 46.4 percent (13-28) in the first half, including 4-of-6 from long range. Monmouth also forced 12 Terrier turnovers in the initial stanza.
The MU lead jumped to 17 points on Singer's three-pointer at the 10:56 mark of the second half, but the Terriers weren't done yet. St. Francis outscored the Hawks, 28-15, the rest of the way, and made it a one-possession game with less than two seconds remaining on Leah Fechko's three-pointer. But Singer knocked down 1-of-2 free throws to put the game out of reach and give the Hawks the 68-64 victory.
For the game, the Terriers outshot the Hawks, 43.6 percent (24-45) to 41.8 percent (23-55) from the floor, 37.5 percent (6-16) to 31.3 percent (5-16) from long range and 100 percent (10-10) to 65.4 percent (17-26) from the free-throw line. The two teams finished an even 32-32 on the boards, while Monmouth forced the Terriers into 21 turnovers.
The Hawks continue Northeast Conference play Saturday afternoon when they travel to Fairfield, Conn., to take on Sacred Heart in a rematch of last year's NEC Tournament Championship Game. The game, scheduled for a 4 p.m. opening tip from the William H. Pitt Center, will be televised live on Fox College Sports and ESPN3.com.