- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 02 December 2015
- Written by MATT DELUCA | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
After losing a close game in overtime to Lehigh University a week earlier, the upstart Monmouth women’s basketball fell to Robert Morris University 60-47 in the 2015 home opener. The Hawks got off to a slow start, scoring only two points in the first 4:40 of the game, shooting 1-6 (17 percent) from the field. Senior guard Jasmine Walker hit for three sparking the Hawks offense, who went on a 5-0 scoring run to cut the Colonials’ lead to 1. Robert Morris countered with a 6-0 scoring run of their own to close out the quarter, making it 18-11 after the first.
The Colonials opened the second quarter on another quick 7-0 run, building their largest lead of the night before forcing the Hawks to call timeout. Monmouth began to turn on their press defense, which forced multiple Colonial turnovers. The Hawks were unable to capitalize, suffering from another extended scoring drought, this one lasting 5:42. A three pointer from sophomore forward Dana Carbone and a layup from senior guard Jamiyah Bethune cut the deficit to 9 points at halftime for Monmouth.
The Hawks received a major boost from their defense, which kept them in the game despite shooting 27 percent from the field in the first half. Monmouth head coach Jenny Palmateer was pleased with her team’s efforts in the new style “I love it, I think it is going to be our bread and butter. The hard part is that we have to score to get in it, so we have to become more efficient offensively so that we can really get in fully.” The Hawks only scored 20 points in the first half, led by Walker who contributed five points.
The Hawks opened the second half on a 6-0 run, which cut the Colonials’ lead to 29-26. Senior guard Sarah Olson scored a basket, and then forced a Robert Morris turnover which led to baskets by Bethune and Walker. With the momentum on their side, the Hawks had a chance to claim the lead for the first time of the night after forcing a ten-second violation on defense. Unable to capitalize, Monmouth fell down by double digits after a couple three point shots from Rebeca Navarro and Ashley Ravelli, giving the Colonials a 12 point lead.
The Hawks entered the fourth quarter down by 14 points, being plagued by turnovers and empty possessions throughout the second half. Junior forward Christina Mitchell picked up her fourth personal foul early in the fourth, forcing her to sit a majority of the quarter, which proved to be a big loss inside for Monmouth.
Monmouth received 11 key points from Olson, who provided a spark both on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Olson credits the third quarter comeback to the new press defense “It really catches teams off guard, they have to scout for and prepare for it. That’s important because how can you prepare for getting pressed 40 minutes a game?” Although she had no recorded steals in the game, Olson still made an impact, forcing many Robert Morris players to commit turnovers. The senior had five steals in the season opener against Lehigh, and has played a major role in the team’s new style of defense.
Hawks freshman guard McKinzee Barker added to her sensational start to the season, stuffing the stat sheet with six points, nine rebounds, and one assist. The guard also came close to a double-double against Lehigh, scoring nine points, grabbing nine rebounds, and accumulating nine assists. Palmateer had nothing but praise for the young Hawk “The thing I’m most impressed with is that she winds up in the stat sheet in every column. She’s been doing a great job playing complete games, shooting a great percentage for us”.
Barker is shooting 53 percent through the first two games, and looks to carry that success throughout the rest of the season.
Robert Morris improved to 2-1 on the season, while Monmouth fell to 0-2. The Hawks face Colgate next. Monmouth pulled out the win in Hamilton, N.Y. over their Patriot League foe. A close contested game ended in the Hawks favor 86-80 following a frantic overtime period. The Hawks continued their road trip and headed to Providence days later.
PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth Athletics