Last updateWed, 28 Feb 2018 12pm


Women’s Basketball Loses to Quinnipiac to End Season

W Basketball 02.28.18After two tough losses in Buffalo, the Monmouth women’s basketball team bounced back with a 73-65 senior night victory over Fairfield at the OceanFirst Bank Center Friday night.

Senior guard Rhaiah Spooner-Knight scored 24 points in 23 minutes, while also grabbing eight rebounds. Junior guard McKinzee Barker was the only other Hawk in double figures scoring, as she had 12.

“Our belief in each other secured this win tonight,” Monmouth Head Coach Jody Craig said. “The communication defensively was tremendous, and it was one of our best efforts on that end of the floor.”

Fairfield jumped out to an eight-point advantage with 4:02 remaining in the first quarter, but Monmouth was able to cut that lead in half. At the end of ten minutes, the Stags led 18-14. A jumper from Barker with 6:34 left in the second quarter tied the game at 23. Fairfield responded with a 6-0 run, but Spooner-Knight scored four-straight points to counter the Stags’ run. Monmouth went into the halftime break down by one, 31-30.

The Hawks took the lead with 7:18 left in the third quarter off of an and-one conversion from Barker. As they two teams traded baskets, senior guard Dana Carbone hit her second three-point shot of the game with 2:18 in the quarter to give Monmouth a 47-46 lead. They would eventually take a 49-46 advantage into the fourth quarter.

The Hawks expanded their lead to five with 8:46 remaining in the game, but the Stags stormed back once again to take a one-point lead with just over six minutes left. Freshman forward Carol Arfinengo knocked down a three, and junior center Erica Balman converted on a layup to give Monmouth the lead back, as the score was 58-54 with just under five minutes remaining. The run would expand to 9-0, as their lead grew to 62-54 with 4:10 left. Fairfield used one final push to get the game to four points, but a huge three-point shot from sophomore guard Kayla Shaw gave Monmouth a seven-point lead with 46 seconds on the clock. They would not relinquish that lead, closing out Fairfield for their ninth victory of the season.

“We played as a team, got the ball to the right people, and stayed within ourselves as a group,” Craig said. “I loved to see our seniors go out on a positive note here and represent the people they are.”

Carbone made her first career start, scoring eight points, while senior guard Kayla Quintana grabbed three rebounds in her second career start. Spooner-Knight scored in double-figures for the 18th time this season, which leads the team.

“It was so much fun,” Spooner-Knight said. “We came out hyped and wanted to get this win. This is great momentum, and we’re peaking at the right time.”

Monmouth closed out their regular season by traveling to play league-leading Quinnipiac Sunday afternoon, as they fell 77-57.

Spooner-Knight scored in double figures again with 17 points, and sophomore forward Alexa Middleton added ten points off of the bench. Sophomore guard Rosa Graham registered eight assists, which were the most by a Hawk since Jamiyah Bethune in December of 2015.

The two teams traded runs throughout the first half, as each team had leads within single digits. With the game tied at 28 late in the first half, Quinnipiac used a 7-0 run to make the halftime score 35-28. They would not look back, outscoring Monmouth in each of the final two quarters to finish conference play undefeated.

Monmouth ended its season with a 9-20 overall record, and a 7-11 record in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) play, which ranked them ninth out of 11 teams. Their next game will be Thursday, as they take on the eighth-seeded Canisius in the first round of the 2018 MAAC Basketball Tournament. Tip-off is slated for 9:30 a.m., and the game can be found on ESPN3 and WMCX 88.9 FM.

PHOTO TAKEN by Kalee Sell

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