W Basketball 1.24.18

Women’s Basketball Defeats Iona to End Homestand

After losing the first two games of their home stand, the Monmouth women’s basketball team closed it with a 68-56 victory over the Iona Gaels.

Sophomore guard Kayla Shaw led the Hawks with 16 points, including four three-point shots. Sophomore guard Rosa Graham added 12, as she was the only other player in double figures. Sophomore forward Adriana Zelaya scored nine points and grabbed six rebounds.

“We were just tremendous in the second half with defense and rebounding,” Monmouth Head Coach Jody Craig said. “The effort level on defense was phenomenal, and I loved our poise down the stretch.”

The Hawks opened the game on an 11-6 run, receiving points from four different players, including two baskets from Zelaya. After the media timeout with 4:38 remaining in the first quarter, the Gaels embarked on a 14-6 run to make the score 20-17, forcing Craig to call a timeout with 39 seconds left. Coming out of the timeout, the Hawks were able to beat the buzzer on the final play of the frame, as senior guard Dana Carbone hit a three to make the score 20-20 after ten minutes.

The teams opened the second quarter trading baskets, as no team had a lead larger than two for the first 5:40 of the second quarter, with the score 28-26 Iona at the media timeout. Monmouth would only score once the remainder of the frame, as it ended the half on a 3:33 scoring drought, as Iona took a 33-28 lead into halftime.

After an Iona basket to open the second half, Monmouth responded with five straight points on a three from Shaw and a layup from senior guard Rhaiah Spooner-Knight. The Hawks also held Iona scoreless for 2:25, forcing the Gaels to call a timeout with 6:45 remaining in the quarter, up 35-33. A three-point shot from Graham brought the Hawks within one, 37-36, at the third quarter media timeout. With the score 44-41 Iona with 1:35 remaining in the frame, Zelaya and Shaw each connected on a three-point shot to give the Hawks the 44-41 lead after 30 minutes of play.

The Hawks opened the fourth quarter with a jumper from sophomore forward Alexa Middleton and a layup from Shaw to expand their lead to seven, their largest since the first quarter. This run forced the Gaels to call a timeout with 7:53 remaining. Monmouth continued their run, as they were able to expand their lead to 12 with 5:10 remaining on a three-point shot from junior guard McKinzee Barker. The Hawks had a lead as large as 15 in the final minutes, but Iona was able to close the margin slightly, making the final score 68-56.

“This was huge,” Zelaya said. “We were so hungry for it. Now that we feld this win, we don’t want it to go away. It was a great team win and it is going to help us build chemistry.”

The Hawks shot 46 percent from the field and 43 percent from three in the game, while hitting eight of 13 free throws. Monmouth also outrebounded Iona 39-29, and outscored the Gaels in the paint 22-10.

“We needed this badly, because our last two games were tough,” Craig said. “It’s great to play well and be rewarded.”

The team earned their fifth victory on the season, improving their overall record to 5-13, and their Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) record to 3-4. They hope to continue their success Friday night, as they take on hourglass rival Saint Peter’s. Tip-off from Jersey City is set for 7:00 p.m., with the game being available on WMCX 88.9 FM.