SENIORS WILL WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PAST THE MOUNT, 71-63
WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. - Alysha Womack (Springfield, Pa./Cardinal O'Hara) scored 15 of her team-high 17 points in the second half as the Monmouth University women's basketball team outlasted Mount St. Mary's, 71-63, Monday night at the Multipurpose Activity Center. The Hawks outscored the Mountaineers, 30-13, over the final 10 minutes of the second half to turn a nine-point deficit into the eight-point win. With the win, the Hawks conclude the regular season at 15-14 (12-6 NEC) and secure the No. 3 seed in the upcoming NEC Tournament. Their quarterfinal-round opponent will be the sixth-seeded Mountaineers, who finished the season with a 14-15 (10-8 NEC) mark. The game will be played Sunday at 3 p.m. at the MAC.
Womack made her last five field-goal attempts and all four of her second-half free throws to finish with 17 points, while also adding a team-high five assists. Abigail Martin (Maplewood, N.J./Columbia) made 4-of-6 attempts on the game and 3-of-5 in the second half to add 11 points. She also chipped in with six rebounds. Carly Thibault (East Lyme, Conn./East Lyme) and Chevannah Paalvast (Auckland, New Zealand/Massey) contributed 11 points apiece. Sara English (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West [UMass]) also added eight points and six rebounds.
Selina Mann scored a game-high 20 points for Mount St. Mary's on 5-of-10 shooting from the floor and 9-for-9 from the charity stripe. Sydney Henderson added 13 points and a game-high seven rebounds, while Tara Lonergan also finished in double figures with 10 points.
The Mountaineers immediately jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the early going before extending the lead to eight on two occasions, the last on a Lonergan jumper in the paint at the 8:34 mark. Monmouth responded with 15 of the next 21 points, including six straight from English, to take its first lead, 24-22, on Thibault's three at the 4:30 mark. With the Hawks leading 26-24, the Mountaineers outscored the Hawks, 10-1, to take a seven-point lead before another Thibault trifecta cut the deficit to four, 34-30, at the half.
Thibault led the Hawks with seven points at the half, while Mann led Mount St. Mary's with 11 points, including 7-for-7 shooting from the free-throw line. The Mountaineers overcame 10 first-half turnovers with 57.1 percent (12-21) shooting from the floor and 90.0 percent (9-10) from the free-throw line. The Hawks made 87.5 percent (7-8) from the line, but three Monmouth starters - Paalvast, Martin and Gabby Singer (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) - were each whistled for two fouls and saw limited first-half minutes.
Out of the break, a Mann three-pointer and a Lonergan jumper gave the Mountaineers a nine-point lead. On four occasions, the Mount rebuilt the lead to nine points, the last coming on Ashley Christie's three-pointer at the 10:48 mark. But the Hawks would outscore the Mountaineers, 30-13, from that point forward.
A Martin free throw got the spurt started, before Womack, Martin and Paalvast each scored a two-point bucket to whittle the deficit down to two points. After the teams exchanged buckets, Paalvast tied the game at 52-52 with a pair of free throws with 6:08 to play. The Mountaineers threw over the top of the Hawks' full-court press after the Paalvast free throws for a Kayla Grossett fast-break lay-up. But following a Singer offensive rebound, Womack canned a three-pointer with 5:48 left to play to put the Hawks on top for the first time since the 2:59 mark of the first half.
A Henderson three-point play swayed the momentum and the lead back to Mount St. Mary's, 57-55, with 4:38 left. But following a Thibault driving lay-up on the next possession that tied the game at 57-57, a pair of Womack free throws with 3:12 left in regulation gave Monmouth a lead it would not relinquish. An 8-0 run, including a pair of pivotal Martin post moves, gave Monmouth a six-point cushion. The Mountaineers could draw no closer than to within four the rest of the way.
For the game, the Mountaineers outshot the Hawks, 44.2 percent (23-52) to 37.9 percent (22-58) from the floor. The Hawks took a 33.3 percent (5-15) to 21.4 percent (3-14) advantage from long range and an 88.0 percent (22-25) to 82.4 percent (14-17) edge from the free-throw line. Monmouth outrebounded Mount St. Mary's, 39-31.