The Monmouth University women’s basketball team (1-1) took down the visiting New Jersey City University (0-1) 79-70 Thursday evening at OceanFirst Bank Center, thanks to a remarkable fourth quarter surge.
The Hawks held off a feisty NJCU team that were within a point early in the fourth quarter before the big run put the game well out of reach. Damaris Rodriguez’ fantastic performance for NJCU ultimately went to waste, as she scored a game-high 33 points to pair with two steals, two assists and two rebounds. The Hawks’ own grad student Lucy Thomas also stuffed the stat sheet, leading the way for Monmouth with a double-double that included a new career-high of 23 points and matching her career-best in rebounds with 13. Thomas was one of four Hawks to reach double-digit points on the evening, alongside freshman Anaya Coleman and graduate Bri Tinsley, who each put up 15, and junior Kaci Donovan who chipped in another 10. Thomas’ double-double was a welcomed sight and her first in some time; this was the 10th of her career and first this year after posting four in the 2018-19 season and five in the 19-20 season.
Coleman’s performance was the best of her young career, as the New York native put up double-digit points for the first time to go along with five defensive boards, four assists, and a perfect night from the free-throw line. Clinging to a 53-52 lead after Rodriguez made a pullup jump shot for the visitors, the Hawks went on a barnstorming 19-2 run to take an 18-point lead with four minutes remaining. NJCU would eventually shave down the Hawks lead and try to even things out, but the Hawks’ depth scoring proved to be the difference. Monmouth’s bench contributed 13 more points than NJCU’s and showed what they can accomplish as a team in the victory.
The Lady Hawks (2-1) then traveled out to Pitt Center in Fairfield, Ct. to face off with Sacred Heart (1-2) and scored 17 of the game’s final 22 points to rip off their second consecutive win.
Bri Tinsley scored a career-high 25 points, including eight clutch ones in the final four minutes to go alongside her four assists. Lucy Thomas added 19 points, joining Tinsley in the double-digits while nine different Hawks in total scored on the night.
The Hawks ran the show from start to finish, leading for 31:06 in total. Sacred Heart temporarily held the lead after a few scoring runs, but their seven minutes with the advantage pales mightily in comparison to the Hawks’ domination of the scoreboard. The Hawks built their lead all the way up to 15, and ended the night with a 77-62 victory, thanks to a great night overall in shooting efficiency and a near-perfect 13-15 from the free-throw line.
Head Coach Ginny Boggess was over the moon with her squad’s performance in their last two victories, and especially this one in particular. “An incredible response in the second half was the difference tonight,” She remarked. “The team is really buying into the things we are emphasizing and it is showing. I am proud of our effort and it was nice to get a win to kick off this road swing.”
The Hawks (2-1) will play away once again on Wednesday night, facing Loyola Maryland (1-2) at 7 p.m.