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Last updateWed, 23 Sep 2020 2pm

Sports

Hawks Split NEC Games, Martin Scores 1,000th Point

womensbballThe women’s basketball team played two games this weekend, losing on Saturday and winning on Monday. Their record sits at 9-12, 6-4 in the Northeast Conference (NEC). Senior forward Abby Martin needed two points to reach 1,000 for her career entering Monday’s game against Central Connecticut State.

About two and a half minutes in, she made a shot from point black range to become the 16th woman in MU history to net 1,000 points.

“We’re really happy for (Martin),” said head coach Jenny Palmateer. “She’s such a workhorse for us and to be so undersized and to do what she’s done over the last four years is really a tribute to her. She’s a big piece of what we do.”

In practice last week, Chevannah Paalvast, the leading scorer in conference games this season, sprained her ankle. She missed both games, but Palmateer is hopeful she will be ready for next weekend.

On Saturday, the Hawks fell to Bryant 58-55 as they watched a furious comeback fall short. Down three with 3.8 seconds left, MU was unable to get a shot off as the buzzer sounded.

“This one hurts,” said Palmateer. “All losses hurt, but this one really hurts because I felt like the team really competed in the second half.”

Bryant forward Naan Ankoma-Mensa posted a double-double with 18 points and 16 rebounds.

Alysha Womack paced the Hawks with 11 points. Kasey Chambers added nine points in what Palmateer called the “best game she’s played for us all season.”

MU was outplayed in the first half and took a twelve point deficit into the locker room. They came out energized in the second half, immediately calling for a full court press on defense. It resulted in nine steals and twelve points off turnovers in the half.

Gabby Singer’s presence on defense accounted for much of the second half resurgence. She fouled out with four assists and four steals. Both teams were in foul trouble and free throws were common in the second half. MU had 22 free throw attempts in the half; Bryant had 16.

On Singer, Palmateer said, “When she fouled out it was a big hit because she was being really aggressive on the defensive end, causing some havoc, getting some steals. She’s a communicator on the floor for us, she’s our floor general.”

The Hawks took a 46-44 advantage on free throws by Carly Thibault. The lead was short-lived as Bryant regained momentum and didn’t lose the lead again.

“We have to execute better,” said Womack. “Every loss we have, no matter to who it is, hurts. We can’t let it linger too long.”

They came out on Monday ready to play against Central Connecticut State. Thibault led all scorers with 21 points, connecting on all four of her three-point attempts and was 9-9 from the free throw line. Sara English recorded a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Singer added 10 points of her own. Womack and Chambers led the team with four assists apiece.

“We knew that this was a game we had to win,” said Thibault. “There’s kind of a logjam in the middle of the NEC right now so we need to start separating ourselves.”

The Hawks dominated the boards, out-rebounding Central Connecticut State 49-25. Offensive rebounds were huge for MU who grabbed 17 offensive boards that led to 12 second-chance points.

“We talked a lot going into this game how critical this game was for us,” said Palmateer. “I’m really pleased with our effort on the glass. Our guards and our posts were able to take care of the glass. We did a great job pursuing.”

It was a tight game throughout and came down to executing free throws down the stretch. With 12 minutes remaining, each team was in a one-and-one situation with seven fouls. Free throws haven’t been a strong suit for the Hawks this year, but they were able to buckle down and hit 25-30 (83.3 percent) foul shots.

“Eventually, to get where we want to go, you have to start shooting free throws well,” said Palmateer. “Otherwise, they’re going to come back and bite you in the end.”

This was a complete team win for the Hawks, who saw contributions from up and down their lineup. They will look to take their momentum on the road this weekend.

MU plays Saturday, February 9 when they take on Fairleigh Dickinson at Stratis Arena in Hackensack, NJ. Tip-off is set for 2 pm.

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Monmouth University
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