- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 09 December 2015
- Written by MATT DELUCA | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
The women’s basketball defeated Niagara University 83-60 Sunday afternoon in West Long Branch, NJ. Senior guard Jamiyah Bethune scored a team-high 20 points while grabbing eight rebounds and four assists. Monmouth also received double-digit points from junior guard Tyese Purvis (13) and senior guard Sarah Olson (16). Junior forward Christina Mitchell also contributed nine points and seven rebounds. It is the first conference win for Monmouth in the young season.
Olson was on fire from three-point range, make five of 11 shots from beyond the arch, accounting for 15 of her 16 points. “I think it was just a matter of her not getting rushed,” Head Coach Jenny Palmateer said after the game. “Our players did a great job finding her and getting her the ball when she needed it”. Olson had one of her best games of the season, adding two rebounds, two assists, and two steals to her 16 points.
Olson credited her success to the team’s overall morale and performance, “The team’s energy was unbelievable this morning and before the game. We were all on the same page and ready to go. We said let’s pick it up, it’s conference play and it’s now or never.’” The team as a whole scored 83 points, which is their highest total scored in a non-overtime game.
Monmouth opened the game red hot, shooting 52.9 percent from the field in the first quarter. Monmouth forced nine Niagara turnovers in the first quarter, and capitalized by scoring nine points off of those turnovers. The Hawks did not stop there, as they opened up a 41-32 lead at halftime. Bethune and Olson each had ten points at the half, while Niagara was guided all throughout the first half by sophomore forward Kaylee Stroemple, who led all scorers with 12 points.
The Hawks began the second half on another red-hot scoring run, shooting an incredible 50 percent from both field goal and three point range for the third quarter. Niagara’s offense stagnated once again, as the Hawks outscored the Purple Eagles 23-12 in the quarter. Monmouth entered the fourth quarter with a comfortable 20 point lead, up 64-44 over Niagara. The Hawks never looked back, cruising through the fourth quarter to capture their first conference win of the season.
Monmouth never trailed in the contest, holding a lead for over 39 of the 40 minutes in the game. Monmouth dominated in all facets of the game, outshooting the Purple Eagles in three of the four quarters. The Hawks’ new press defense forced 22 Niagara turnovers, and scored 26 points off of those turnovers.
Coach Palmateer credited the team’s offensive success to their patience, “The biggest key was that we were very patient today on the offensive end. We took very few bad shots, and I thought we moved the ball around very well to find the openings. We were able to score from the inside, the three point line, and in transition, and we were able to vary the way that we score.”
The Hawks received consistent production from the inside from Mitchell, who followed up her 13 point, 21 rebound game with nine points and seven rebounds. Monmouth also had consistent three point shooting from senior guard Jasmine Walker and Olson, as well as Purvis.
The win provided a huge momentum boost for the Hawks, who were coming off of a 69-63 loss to Siena on Friday night. Monmouth got off to a solid start against the Saints, but fell behind by double digits in the second half. The Hawks cut the deficit down to four with 7:19 remaining, but were unable to fully surmount Siena’s lead, losing by six points.
With Sunday’s win over Niagara, Monmouth improved to 2-4 overall, and 1-1 in the conference. The Hawks’ next game is Tuesday night, as they travel to face a tough Princeton University Tigers team. Princeton went 31-1 last year, making it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Tip-off will be shortly after 7 pm.