After trailing 45-43 with 3:56 left to play, Women’s Basketball outscored Sacred Heart 11-5 the rest of the way to earn their second consecutive victory, 55-50, on Sunday afternoon.
Junior guard Emani Clough led Monmouth with a season-high 12 points, including ten in the final 2:34.
The Hawks had two other players in double-figures; freshman forward Lucy Thomas scored 11 and junior guard Sierra Green finished with ten. Thomas also added eight rebounds.
“We’re practicing well enough to start winning and are starting to put together positive possessions on both ends of the floor,” said Head Coach Jody Craig. “It takes all of the facets of the game to get a victory.”
Monmouth jumped out to a 9-1 lead in the first quarter, which garnered a Sacred Heart timeout. The Pioneers began to string together a few possessions, but the Hawks maintained a seven-point edge after ten minutes, 17-10. Sacred Heart’s 9-0 run in the second quarter gave them their first lead of the game as they outscored Monmouth 15-6 in the second ten minutes to go into the half leading 25-23.
Two consecutive steals and baskets put Monmouth back in front late in the third quarter, 35-34, but a Sacred Heart three to end the quarter gave them the lead back going into the final ten minutes of regulation.
Down by two with 3:56 to go, Clough connected on back to back three-point shots and vaulted Monmouth into the lead, 49-45, with 1:40 left. She later hit a pull-up jumper to expand the lead to five with nine seconds remaining. She finished the game by scoring two free throws to cap off her personal run of ten points in just over two and a half minutes of play.
“I was happy to see Emani have something that positive happen,” Craig said. “I thought we were not at our top level at all today and had to find a way to be gritty. We had to be resilient and not let it get to our heads. [Emani] was a perfect example of someone who shook off all previous plays and just made the next play.”
For the game, Monmouth shot 38 percent from the field and 35 percent from three. They made six out of their eight free throws. The Hawks held Sacred Heart to just 27 percent shooting from the field and 22 percent from three, but the Pioneers made 20 of their 29 free throws on the afternoon. Monmouth outrebounded Sacred Heart 41-34, as it was the second-straight game in which they outrebounded their opponent.
Thomas scored in double-figures for the fourth time in the last five games, while Green reached that mark for the fifth-straight game. Ten different players scored for Monmouth in the win.
The victory was the second in as many games for Monmouth, as they earned their first win of the season earlier in the week, defeating Albany 64-56 on Wednesday evening at the OceanFirst Bank Center.
Green had 15 points, including three three-point shots. Junior guard Rosa Graham finished with ten points, five rebounds, and four assists.
“Defensively, we made more plays,” Craig said. “We struggled down the stretch to close, and that’s something we need to spend more time on. Overall, I was pleased with our performance. We’re coming together more consistently. This is a growth process and we’re learning every game.”
With the pair of wins, Monmouth improved their record to 2-4 after starting the season with four consecutive losses.
The Hawks will look to win their third-straight on Sunday when they travel to face George Washington. Tip-off from Washington D.C. is slated for 2:00 p.m. and the game will be broadcasted live on ESPN+.
PHOTO TAKEN by Ali Nugent