WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Sara English (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West [UMass]) compiled her fourth career double-double with a career-high 19 points and 10 rebounds, but the Monmouth University women’s basketball team fell to Iona, 86-77, Friday night at the Multipurpose Activity Center. The Hawks (4-16, 3-6 MAAC) trailed by as many as 24 points with 9:22 left in regulation, but used a 23-3 run to pull to within three points with 1:53 left. But the Gaels (16-2, 9-0 MAAC) held on for the victory.
Jenny Horvatinovic (Red Lion, Pa./Red Lion Area) scored a season-high 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor, while Chevannah Paalvast (Auckland, New Zealand/Massey) also had 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Kasey Chambers (Belmar, N.J./St. Rose) had nine points, while Jasmine Walker (North Brunswick, N.J./North Brunswick) chipped in with seven points and seven rebounds. Mia Hopkins (Pittston, Pa./Pittston Area) also had six points and six rebounds.
Damika Martinez, the MAAC’s leading scorer at 24.2 points per game entering the contest, scored a game-high 28 points. Joy Adams also added a double-double of 21 points and 13 rebounds, while Aaliyah Robinson scored all 16 of her points in the first half.
“We’re not that high-powered an offensive team that we can afford to [go down by 24 points],” said Monmouth Head Coach Jenny Palmateer. “We got ourselves in a jam in the first half. We started in zone, knowing that we couldn’t really match up. We knew offensively, our best shot was to go with two true posts. With that, it’s a match-up problem with their quickness and penetrators. In the first 10 minutes, they killed us. They drained three after three after three. So, then we go man, but can’t stop their penetration. So we just got into too big of a hole in the first half.”
The Hawks and Gaels traded punches in the early going, with Iona taking a 9-4 lead, before English countered with a three-point play and a short jumper to tie the game. Adams and Paalvast each knocked down a jumper, leaving the game tied at 11-11. Martinez then buried a pair of three-pointers consecutively to give Iona a 17-11 lead. Monmouth kept the game within five points with less than seven minutes remaining in the half, but the Gaels scored 14 of the final 18 points in the stanza to extend to a 15-point advantage, 44-29, at the half.
English led the Hawks with 11 points and nine rebounds, including four on the offensive glass, at the half. Paalvast added eight points. Both English and Paalvast made 4-of-7 field-goal attempts. Robinson led Iona with 16 points on the strength of 6-of-8 shooting, including 4-of-5 from long range. Martinez added 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting, including 2-of-5 from beyond the three-point line. The Gaels hoisted 17 first-half three-point attempts, connecting on eight (47.1 percent).
Iona immediately extended its lead to 21 points on a pair of Martinez threes to begin the second half. Monmouth trimmed the deficit to 13 on an English bucket in the post, but Iona’s lead swelled to 24, 70-46, on Christina Rubin’s three-pointer at the 9:22 mark. Less than a minute later, trailing 73-50, Monmouth started a 15-0 run and scored 23 of the next 26 points to cut the deficit to three. Horvatinovic scored nine of her points in the stretch, while Walker and Chambers had five points apiece. However, the Hawks couldn’t make enough shots the rest of the way and Iona iced the game at the free throw line.
For the game, Iona outshot the Hawks, 47.4 percent (27-57) to 44.4 percent (32-72) from the floor, including a 51.7 percent (15-29) to 18.2 percent (2-11) edge from long range. Monmouth shot 73.3 percent (11-15) at the free-throw line to Iona’s 65.4 percent (17-26). The Hawks outrebounded Iona, 41-35, and turned the ball over just 11 times to the Gaels’ 15. Monmouth took a 40-14 edge in points in the paint and a 17-4 advantage in second-chance points.
The Hawks return to MAAC action Sunday, when they play host to Manhattan. Opening tip from the Multipurpose Activity Center is slated for 2 p.m.