W Basketball 02.21.19

Women’s Basketball Falls in Nail-Biter at Home

Women’s Basketball was upset by Iona after a layup with 2.2 seconds left in the game edged the Hawks, 52-51, on Friday night at the OceanFirst Bank Center.

Junior forward Alexa Middleton led Monmouth with 16 points and ten rebounds, while junior guard Sierra Green scored eight points and hit two three-point shots.

The Hawks opened with the first two points of the night, but the Gaels responded with seven to make the score 7-2 at the first media timeout. After Monmouth knocked down a free throw, Iona responded with a three to make the score 10-3 with 4:03 remaining, which would be their largest lead of the quarter. Monmouth made four of their last five shots to close the frame, as Iona took a 16-13 lead into the second quarter.

The Gaels’ offense slowed in the second quarter, and the Hawks took advantage, outscoring them 13-12 to cut the deficit to two at half, 28-26.

Iona came out of halftime hot, scoring seven of the first nine points to take a 35-28 lead. Monmouth then went on its biggest run of the game, scoring the next 12 points, including seven from Middleton, to take a 40-35 lead. The extended run to end the quarter was 18-7 in favor of Monmouth, as they led 46-42 after three.

The Hawks expanded their lead to six on a layup from freshman forward Lucy Thomas with 7:58 remaining, but did not score again until the two minute mark of the quarter, when Middleton added a layup to maintain the Monmouth lead at 50-47. After two Iona free throws, Thomas hit one of two of her own to make the score 51-49 with 31 seconds remaining. Iona split a pair of free throws with 23 seconds left to cut the margin in half, but two missed free throws from Monmouth with 12 seconds remaining gave Iona the chance to win the game. The Gaels missed on their shot attempt, but corralled the rebound and made a layup with 2.2 seconds left. The score would hold, giving Iona its first win in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) play and just their second on the season, improving to 2-23.

“We got beat by a team tonight who simply wanted it more,” Monmouth Head Coach Jody Craig said. “Credit to Iona. They deserved to win. They outplayed us and showed a lot more heart as a team.”

For the game, Monmouth shot 32 percent from the field (14-43), 20 percent from three (2-10), and 70 percent from the free throw line (21-30). The Hawks had 27 turnovers in the contest, leading to 19 Iona points.

Green passed Beth DiRenzo (1990-91) for the second most three-point shots made in a single season in program history with 81. She is 12 behind the program record, set by Kayla Shaw in the 2016-17 season, when she hit 93 threes.

Monmouth split the week in terms of results, as they defeated Manhattan 71-63 on Tuesday night at the OceanFirst Bank Center. The Hawks saw four players score in double figures, including Green, who set a new season-high with 28 points, hitting seven threes. Thomas had 15, junior guard Emani Clough added 12 off the bench, and Middleton scored ten. The fourth quarter was pivotal as the Hawks outscored the Jaspers 25-9 to secure the victory.

“I thought we had great composure tonight, especially being down in the fourth quarter,” Craig said. “We defended on one end and found ways to score on the other. Obviously, Sierra [Green] getting hot really helped us. She always comes out looking to be active and aggressive, which really sets the tone for us.”

Friday’s loss dropped Monmouth’s record to 10-14 on the season, and 6-7 in MAAC play. The Hawks will look to bounce back next weekend, as they embark on the annual Buffalo road trip. The first game is on Friday night where they will face Niagara at 7:00 p.m.

PHOTO TAKEN by Karlee Sell