- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 30 November 2016
- Written by MATT DELUCA | STAFF WRITER
The Monmouth University women’s basketball team defeated Lehigh 73-62 Sunday afternoon in the third place game of the 2016 Christmas City Classic in Bethlehem, PA.
Freshman guard Kayla Shaw scored a team-high 17 points in the game, hitting five three-point shots. Two other Monmouth players reached double figures in the game, with junior guard Kayla Quintana scoring 16 and senior guard Tyese Purvis scoring 11.
“I thought we definitely picked things up in the second half,” Shaw said after the game. “We swung the ball and crashed the boards, and overall it was a huge turnaround and the reason why we won the game.”
Both teams came out of the game hot, as it was a tightly-contested first quarter, as Monmouth led 17-15 after ten minutes, thanks in part to six points from Purvis. The Hawks opened their lead to as high as eight in the second quarter, with the score 31-23 with 3:39 remaining in the half. Lehigh later responded with a 7-0 run to make the score 33-32 in favor of Monmouth at halftime.
Purvis and Shaw each had a team-high of nine points at halftime, as the Hawks shot 33.3 percent from field goal range and 29.2 percent from three-point range. The Hawks did not attempt a free throw in the half, while Lehigh made 11 on 14 attempts.
In the opening minutes of the second half, the Hawks had a quick surge off of a Quintana three-point shot and a layup form freshman guard Alaina Jarnot, which forced Lehigh to call a timeout. The Hawks extended on their lead off of five straight points from Quintana to make the score 55-44. The Mountain Hawks cut into the deficit, making the score 61-57 at the end of three.
Monmouth opened their lead to double-digits in the fourth quarter and never looked back, making the final score 73-62. The Hawks shot 41.4 percent from field goal range and 31.6 percent from three-point range for the game. Monmouth also scored 32 points in the paint, while making 12 three-point shots in the process.
“I was really happy we were able to pull that one out,” Monmouth Head Coach Jenny Palmateer said after the game. “Our girls worked really hard for that one.”
Monmouth outscored Lehigh 45-13 in points off of the bench, a stat that ultimately proved to be the difference maker. Monmouth also had nine players score in the game, including four off of the bench.
“That’s been something we’ve come to rely on,” Palmateer added. “Scoring off the bench makes us who we are, and I’m really proud of the way everyone played.”
Both Shaw’s 17 and Quintana’s 16 were season highs for the Monmouth newcomers, who both came off of the bench Sunday.
“They were both unbelievable today,” Palmateer said. “I was really happy. We’ve seen Shaw shoot the three and she showed that in some of our previous games. I thought today was Quintana’s breakout game, she really showed what she’s capable of doing. Both had really strong games and they both proved to be a big lift for us today.”
Senior center Christina Mitchell finished the game with eight points and 10 rebounds, as she compiled 22 boards during the two-day tournament. As a result, she was named to the All-Tournament Team for her performance.
The victory for the Hawks snapped a three-game losing streak that dated back to their second game of the season at St Francis. The losses on this streak included St Francis (87-78), Clemson (60-47), and the most recent being a 75-72 loss to Hartford in the semifinals of the Christmas City Classic. With the win, the Hawks improved their record to 2-3 on the year, while Lehigh dropped to 4-3.
Monmouth travels up to Buffalo, NY next weekend, where they will take on Niagara on Friday and Canisius on Sunday in two early MAAC games. Friday’s game for Niagara is slated for a 7:00 tip. Both games will air on WMCX 88.9 FM.
PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University Athletics