JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Chevannah Paalvast (Auckland, New Zealand/Massey) scored 13 of her game-high 18 points in the second half as the Monmouth University women’s basketball team defeated Hourglass Rival Saint Peter’s, 52-41, Thursday evening at the Yanitelli Center. The Hawks’ full-court, trapping defense forced 27 turnovers as Monmouth improved to 6-16 (5-6 MAAC). The Peacocks fall to 3-17 (2-9 MAAC) with the loss.
Paalvast also made a game-high four steals. Mia Hopkins (Pittston, Pa./Pittston Area) added 12 points and a team-high seven rebounds, while Sara English (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West [UMass]) also finished in double figures with 11 points to go along with a game-high three blocks. Jasmine Walker (North Brunswick, N.J./North Brunswick) chipped in with eight points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals. Christina Mitchell (Baltimore, Md./MATHS) grabbed six rebounds for Monmouth.
Kaydine Bent led Saint Peter’s with 17 points and a game-high 11 rebounds on the evening, but was responsible for five turnovers. Antonia Smith added 10 points for the Peacocks.
“I think Chevy really took over in the second half, which was nice to see,” said Monmouth Head Coach Jenny Palmateer. “I’m really happy with our upperclassmen right now. They’re really stepping up for us in a big way, on the boards, scoring points. Chevy was phenomenal today in keeping everybody organized on the defensive end. I can’t say enough about what she did. I continue to be amazed and be pleased with the young kids that we have and their progress as we move forward.”
After falling behind, 7-2 and 9-4, in the early going, Monmouth went on an 8-0 run to take a 12-9 lead. A Helena Kurt (Spanga, Sweden/Igelstavikens Gymnasium) triple sparked the run and was followed by a Paalvast free throw and consecutive Hopkins buckets, the last at the 9:12 mark. In the process, Monmouth turned up the defense, employing a full-court press that helped cause 17 Peacocks turnovers in the initial stanza, marking the second time in as many road contests that MU turned the opponent over 17 times (Jan. 19 at Niagara). Saint Peter’s tied the game at 14-14 on Aziza May’s three-point play at the 7:06 mark. But Monmouth outscored Saint Peter’s, 10-3, the rest of the half to take a 24-17 lead into the locker room and would not trail the rest of the game.
Walker led the Hawks with six points at the break, while Hopkins, Paalvast and English had five points apiece. Hopkins and Christina Mitchell (Baltimore, Md./MATHS) had four rebounds apiece, while Kurt had a team-high three steals at the break. Bent led Saint Peter’s with six points and six rebounds. May added five points for the Peacocks.
Monmouth opened the second half with consecutive jumpers by English and Paalvast to take a double-digit lead, 28-17, at the 18:17 mark. On five occasions in the second half, Saint Peter’s closed to within five points, but each time, the Hawks responded with the next two points to keep the Peacocks within arm’s reach. The Hawks twice scored to push the lead back to 11, the last coming on a Paalvast jumper with 1:14 left in regulation to account for the final 52-41 score.
“It was our game plan to try to speed them up a little bit,” said Palmateer. “So we went to our red press early. We were able to stay in that a little longer than I thought we might. I thought our players did a great job adjusting to the different sets that Saint Peter’s threw at us. So really, we were able to stay with that the whole game.”
For the game, Monmouth caused 27 turnovers, while turning the ball over just 11 times itself. The Hawks took a 20-8 edge in points off turnovers. Saint Peter’s edged Monmouth from the field, 39.0 percent (16-41) to 36.4 percent (20-55), while the Hawks outshot the Peacocks, 25.0 percent (1-4) to 16.7 percent (2-12) from long range. Saint Peter’s took a 77.8 percent (7-9) to 57.9 percent (11-19) advantage from the free-throw line, while rebounds were an even 32-32.
The Hawks return to action Saturday, when they play host to perennial MAAC power Marist. Opening tip from the Multipurpose Activity Center is slated for 2 p.m.