W Basketball 02.13.19

Women’s Basketball Clutches Overtime Victory

Behind key free throws in the final moments of both regulation and overtime, Women’s Basketball won their fifth conference game of the season on Saturday afternoon, defeating Siena 56-54 in Loudonville, NY.

Senior guard McKinzee Barker led the Hawks with 14 points, including three three-point shots. She was the only Monmouth player to reach double-figures.

Senior center Erica Balman added nine points and four rebounds off of the bench after missing the previous two contests. Junior forward Alexa Middleton scored eight points, corralled eight rebounds, and had three blocks and three steals.

Monmouth began the game by scoring its first eight points, and after Siena hit their first shot of the game, the Hawks scored five-straight. Siena called a timeout, down 13-2 out of the gate. Monmouth continued its hot start, outscoring the Saints 9-4 the rest of the frame to take a 22-8 lead after ten minutes.

Barker’s shot with 8:26 remaining in the half put her in double figures and gave Monmouth a 24-8 lead. Siena rattled off ten-straight points to cut the deficit to six. The Hawks were able to stave off most of the Siena run, which ended at 15-5, as Monmouth took a 29-23 lead into the break.

The Hawks came out of the halftime break hot, going up by 11 points early in the third quarter, but another Siena run cut the lead to 38-34. The Saints hit a three late to bring them within one possession after thirty minutes, as Monmouth led 39-37.

Siena took their first lead of the game early in the fourth, as they hit a three-point shot. Monmouth did not score in the quarter until there was 4:53 remaining on the clock, as freshman forward Lucy Thomas hit a couple of free throws, to make the score 44-41 in favor of the hosts. Freshman guard Alexa Wallace hit two free throws with 38 seconds left to tie the game at 48. That score would hold, forcing overtime.

Monmouth went down by two in the extra period, but Barker converted on a three-point play to put the Hawks up by one. With 35 seconds remaining, Siena tied the game on a layup. On the next possession, Monmouth grabbed two offensive rebounds in route to junior guard Emani Clough being fouled. The guard hit one of two free throws with four seconds remaining, and split another pair a few seconds later, sealing a road victory for the Hawks.

“I loved our defensive effort and poise down the stretch,” said Head Coach Jody Craig. “We had a number of players make big plays, hit clutch free throws down the stretch, and get huge stops on defense late in overtime. I’m really proud of our performance today.”

Monmouth shot 18 for 56 from the field (32 percent), 6 for 25 from three (24 percent), and 14 for 26 from the free throw line (54 percent).

Barker’s 14-point performance was the fourth time this season in which she has scored in double figures and 20th of her career.

Freshman guard Allure Simmons earned her first start of her career, playing a season-high 33 minutes.

Saturday was the second time this season in which Monmouth has played an overtime game, with the first coming on Dec. 8 in a 73-69 loss at Lafayette.

The victory for Monmouth came two days after suffering a 65-50 loss at in-state rival Rider on Thursday night, a game in which Monmouth never led.

In Saturday’s win over Siena, the Hawks led for 31:35.

Monmouth improved to 9-13 on the season, and 5-6 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) play.

The Hawks will host Iona on Friday night at the OceanFirst Bank Center. Tip-off is slated for 7:00 p.m., with the game being broadcasted on ESPN+.

PHOTO TAKEN by Karlee Sell