Women’s Basketball Falls to St. Peters and Manhattan

W Basketball 01.31.18Coming off of their largest victory of the season, the Monmouth women’s basketball team dropped two games on the road, both by double digits.

The first loss came Friday night, as the team fell 67-47 at Saint Peter’s. Senior guard Rhaiah Spooner-Knight scored 11 points and added eight rebounds, while junior guard McKinzee Barker also contributed 11 points and five rebounds. No other Hawk reached double figures in the contest.

The Peacocks took an early five-point lead after the first quarter, 17-12, as Barker accumulated seven points in the first 3:25. Monmouth only scored six points in the second quarter, however, as the Saint Peter’s lead ballooned up to 12 at halftime, 30-18. The Hawks only made six field goals in the half, shooting 23 percent through 20 minutes.

Saint Peter’s continued their run in the second half, as they led by as many as 19 points with 7:32 remaining in the third. After 30 minutes of play, the Peacocks held a 50-33 advantage. They wouldn’t let up in the fourth quarter, as they led by a game-high 21 with 7:45 left, eventually winning by 20.

Barker’s 11-point performance was the fourth time she reached double figures this season. Junior center Erica Balman had three blocks in the contest; her 40 blocks on the season leads the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). For the game, Monmouth shot 27 percent from the field, only converting 15 field goals.

“This is a difficult game to find positives,” Monmouth Head Coach Jody Craig said. “I have to give credit to Saint Peter’s, because they came and shot the lights out. They were really ready for this game, and it didn’t seem like we came with the same intensity and focus that we needed.”

The team then traveled to Manhattan on Sunday afternoon, where they fell 63-53 to the Jaspers at Draddy Gymnasium. Sophomore guard Kayla Shaw led Monmouth with 20 points, hitting three 3-pointers. Sophomore guard Rosa Graham was the only other player in double figures with 15 points.

The game was tied early in the first quarter, but the Jaspers used a 7-0 run to double up the Hawks late in the first quarter. Two Barker free throws made the score 14-9 after ten minutes. Off of nine points from Shaw, Monmouth outscored Manhattan 12-6 to take a 21-20 lead into halftime.

The Hawks hit a three early in third, but the Jaspers embarked on a 13-2 scoring run to go up by seven. Manhattan controlled the rest of the quarter, as they scored 26 points in ten minutes to take a 46-38 lead into the final frame. With Manhattan leading by 11 points early in the fourth, Monmouth climbed back into the contest on a 13-0 run to take a 51-49 lead with 5:29 remaining. The teams traded baskets, and the Jaspers were able to jump out to a four-point lead with under three minutes remaining. Manhattan closed strong, outscoring Monmouth 14-2 to win by ten.

Spooner-Knight scored in double-figures for the 13th time this season, which leads the team. Shaw reached double figures for the 11th time this year, and the 30th of her career.

“We have to learn to execute on both ends of the floor for 40 minutes,” Craig said, “although we were better and put ourselves in a position to win today, we had key turnovers and missed defensive rotations late which took that opportunity away.”

The pair of losses dropped the Hawks to 5-15 on the year, and 3-6 in conference play. They hope to bounce back in their next game as they host Rider on Saturday at the OceanFirst Bank Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:00 p.m., and the game can be found on ESPN3 and WMCX 88.9 FM.

PHOTO TAKEN by Karlee Sell