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Courtesy: Monmouth University Photo

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL CRUISES PAST NIAGARA, 68-55

Courtesy: Monmouth Sports Information
         
Release: February 19, 2016
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NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, NYJamiyah Bethune (Union, NJ/Union [Penn State]) scored a team-high 17 points as the Monmouth University women’s basketball team defeated Niagara, 68-55, Friday night at the “Taps” Gallagher Center. With the win, the Hawks improve to 10-16 (8-9 MAAC), while the Purple Eagles slip to 6-20 (4-13 MAAC).

Bethune did her damage on 7-of-11 shooting. Christina Mitchell (Baltimore, MD/MATHS) contributed 14 points and six rebounds, while Sarah Olson (Freehold, NJ/Howell [NJIT]) also scored in double figures with 13 points. Jasmine Walker (North Brunswick, NJ/North Brunswick) chipped in with nine points on 4-of-5 shooting, while also making four steals. Tyese Purvis (Queens, NY/Francis Lewis [Monroe C.C.]) scored seven points, while McKinzee Barker (Bomont, WV/Clay County) had six. Erica Balman (Marcellus, NY/Marcellus) grabbed five rebounds and blocked two shots in eight minutes off the bench.

Taylor McKay scored a game-high 20 points for Niagara, while Sam Lapszynski scored 15 points. Both McKay and Lapszynski had eight rebounds for the Purple Eagles. Tiffany Corselli (8) and Jayla Nichols (7) also made scoring contributions for Niagara.

“I’m really happy with our defensive effort today,” said Monmouth Head Coach Jenny Palmateer. “That’s the best full-court and half-court defense that we’ve played in a long time and everybody did a great job to contribute on the defensive end.”

Monmouth jumped out to leads of 7-3 and 13-5 in the first quarter and trailed for only 18 seconds of the game. Walker led Monmouth with five of the first 11 points to stake the Hawks to a lead. With MU in the penalty, two fouls on the floor gave McKay four attempts at the free-throw line in the final two minutes. She buried all four to cut the MU lead to 13-9 after one. The Hawks forced 10 Niagara turnovers in the period.

Niagara cut the Hawks’ lead to two on two occasions early in the second quarter. But the Hawks limited the Purple Eagles to just one field goal in the final seven minutes of the period. In that span, the Hawks outscored Niagara, 17-3, including a 13-0 run. Olson scored eight points in the run, while Bethune accounted for the other five. The Hawks’ lead swelled to as many as 18 points, when Olson buried a left-wing trifecta at the one-minute mark of the period. McKay got a lay-up to fall for the Purple Eagles’ lone field goal of the final seven minutes of the second quarter with 35 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to 34-18 at the half.

Bethune and Olson led the Hawks with 10 points apiece at the half, while Mitchell and Walker added five points each. The Hawks forced 15 Niagara turnovers in the first half, resulting in a 14-2 edge in points off turnovers. The Hawks did much of their damage on the interior, taking a 20-12 advantage in the paint. Monmouth outshot Niagara, 52.0 percent (13-25) to 27.3 percent (6-22) from the floor. McKay led Niagara with eight points, while Lapszynski added seven. Kaylee Stroemple also had three points to account for all 18 Purple Eagles points at the break.

The Hawks opened the second half on an 8-2 run, including consecutive Barker field goals to begin the run, to extend to a 42-20 lead. The lead further swelled to 25 on a Mitchell free throw at the 3:20 mark. But Niagara outscored the Hawks, 12-4, over the final three minutes to cut the MU lead to 57-40 after three. Nichols scored seven points in the Niagara spurt.

The Purple Eagles further cut the Hawks’ lead to 13 on three occasions in the fourth quarter, including the final score, but could draw no closer.

For the game, Monmouth outshot Niagara, 48.1 percent (26-54) to 42.9 percent (21-49) from the floor and 33.3 percent (4-12) to 30.0 percent (3-10) from long range. Niagara took a 76.9 percent (10-13) to 52.2 percent (12-23) edge from the free-throw line and a 36-29 advantage on the boards. Monmouth forced 24 Niagara turnovers and took a 26-10 advantage in points off turnovers. The Hawks also outscored Niagara, 40-26, in the paint.

The Hawks wrap up play in Western New York Sunday, when they face Canisius. Tip-off from Koessler Athletic Center is slated for 2 p.m. on ESPN3.

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