MONTCLAIR, NJ – The Rowan University women’s basketball team lost to Montclair State University, 68-62 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) championship game on Friday night.
The Profs held a 62-60 lead after a layup by Anyssa Sanchez (jr. Stratford, NJ/Sterling) with 2:12 on the clock. Red Hawks guard Rachael Krauss (jr. Farmingdale, NJ/Colts Neck) connected on a three-pointer at the 29-second mark, giving Montclair State a 63-62 advantage. Guard/forward Katie Sire (so. Hazlet, NJ/Raritan) converted four free throws and forward Sage Bennett (jr. Sicklerville, NJ/Winslow Twp.) made one in the final 13-seconds to expand the Red Hawks lead to six (68-62), which was the final margin.
Montclair State (21-6) earns the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament. Rowan (22-5) awaits a possible at-large bid. The 64-team field will be announced on Monday, Feb. 29 at 2:30 p.m. during a live selection show on ncaa.com.
Sire scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Krauss tallied 12 points. Guard Tiarra Dillard (fr. Peekskill, NY/Peekskill) chipped in with 11 points.
For Rowan, Sanchez had 14 points. Guard Summer Crilley (so. Galloway, NJ/Holy Spirit) collected 13 points and eight rebounds. Guard/forward Kaitlin Schullstrom(gr. Colts Neck, NJ/Colts Neck) added 12 points.
Rowan scored the first basket of the game on a layup by guard/forward Melissa Lake (gr. Marlton, NJ/Cherokee) (9:29) then Montclair State went on a 19-5 run to take a 19-7 lead at the 1:53 mark of the first quarter. Guard Kate Tobie (so. Elizabeth, NJ/Roselle Catholic) scored seven points and five other Red Hawks scored at least two points. Forward Kate Matthews (gr. Clark, NJ/Arthur L. Johnson) made it 19-9 (1:36) with a layup but Montclair State scored the next four for a 23-9 advantage. Sanchez converted a jumper as time expired, sending the game to the second with a 23-11 score.
The second frame was an offensive struggle as the team’s traded baskets and Montclair State led 29-17 with 6:50 remaining. Tobie hit a free throw for a 13-point cushion (30-17) at the 3:43 mark. The Profs scored the next four to cut it to nine (30-21) with 1:39 on the clock. Crilley nailed a jumper (0:13), making the halftime score 35-26.
Sanchez tallied the first six points of the third and trimmed the deficit to three (35-32) with 7:10 to play. Rowan trailed 40-34 (6:04) then Sanchez (5:46) and Garofalo (5:18) each converted layups cutting the lead to two (40-38). The Red Hawks led 45-40 (3:49). The Profs collected the next five points from the charity stripe to tie the game at 45 with 2:01 on the clock. The contest went into the final quarter with Montclair State holding a 48-47 advantage.
Schullstrom netted a triple (9:47) to give Rowan its first lead, 50-48. The score was then knotted at 50 (9:25) and 55 (6:51). Lake converted a free throw (4:42) for a 56-55 Profs lead. The Red Hawks recorded five straight to go back out in front 60-56 (3:48). Rowan used s 6-0 spurt to regain the lead, 62-60 (2:12).