Jackie Rodriguez, Sr., Sayreville High School
Sayreville’s go-to scorer poured in 71 3-pointers and averaged 19.4 points per night, all while doing the majority of the ball-handling and being the main focus of the opposition’s defense. Rodriguez finished her career with 1,147 points. Click Here To READ ARTICLE…
Postgame Press Conference
STEVENS POINT, Wis. — The FDU-Florham Devils are National Champions, after completing a perfect 33-0 season by defeating Whitman College 80-72 on Saturday night at the Quandt Fieldhouse.
Kyra Dayon (Trenton, N.J./Trenton) received Tournament MVP honors for her performance over the weekend and was joined on the All-Tournament Team by senior point guard Jalessa Lewis (Irvington, N.J./Mount St. Dominic). Lewis led the way for FDU-Florham with 21 points, six assists and four rebounds on the night.
The game began with a fast pace that set the tone for the entire first half. Whitman junior guard Heather Johns consistently pushed the ball up the floor for the Missionaries and they held an 11-4 lead five minutes into action. Johns led all scorers with 25 points and left it all on the floor for the Missionaries in defeat.
Kyra Dayon scored the Devils first 10 points of the game to keep FDU-Florham within striking distance. Kara Dayon (Trenton, N.J./Trenton) converted a layup off of an on-point outlet pass from Alyssa McDonough (Parlin, N.J./Sayreville) to cut the Missionaries lead to 15-12. Shortly after, Kyra Dayon capped a 12-5 scoring run by the Devils with a layup to knot the game up at 16-16. Dayon led all scorers at the break with 15 points on 5-for-9 from the floor. The junior drained a long three-pointer to give the Devils their first lead of the contest, 21-18 with 8:58 to play in the opening half.
However, the Missionaries responded and continued to push the tempo, which resulted in 20 points in the paint and a 33-32 lead at the break. Johns led the Missionaries with 13 points, four rebounds and three assists at intermission.
The second half started as a see-saw battle, Shalette Brown nailed a jumper but Traver countered with back-to-back three-pointers to give Whitman a 41-37 lead with 17:18 to play
A steal and a jumper by Johns gave Whitman 45-39 lead but Kyra Dayon retaliated with a trey to bring the Devils back within three points with 15:53 to go. After the media timeout, Coach Mitchell’s team executed to perfection, which led to a game-tying three-pointer by Leigh-Ann Lively (Bangor, Pa./Notre Dame).
Johns answered with another bucket to put the Missionaries in front 47-45, but Alyssa McDonough (Parlin, N.J./Sayreville) reclaimed the lead for the Devils by converting an and-one opportunity with 14:33 to play in regulation.
With 8:51 to play, Traver drilled another three-pointer to put the Missionaries back on top 59-57 but after a Whitman free-throw, Lively knocked down her own three-pointer to even the score at 60-60 with 8:03 remaining in the contest.
Kyra Dayon found Delisha Thompson (East Orange, N.J./East Orange Campus) for a back-door layup, which put the Devils ahead 64-62 with 6:24 to go. Two minutes later, Lewis gashed the Whitman defense for the basket and a foul, and after knocking down the free throw the Devils led 69-62.
The Devils held a 74-68 lead with 1:16 to play, when Lewis hit Groom for an easy layup, which built the FDU-Florham lead to eight. With 48 ticks to go, Lewis iced the game with two free throws to complete the historic season.
FDU-Florham is the first NCAA Women’s Basketball Champion in New Jersey history and the first team to claim a hoops championship in the state since 1996.
Read More About FDU-Florham’s Amazing Run To NCAA Division III Title by clicking here…
March 21, 2014
Tough enough: FDU advances past Jumbos
|Kyra Dayon carried the load for FDU-Florham which is the first Freedom Conference team to play for a women’s basketball national championship.
Photo by Steve Frommell, D3photography.com
FDU-Florham was held to its lowest offensive output of the season, but scratched together enough scoring to beat Tufts, 42-39 and advance to the national championship.
The Devils improved to 32-0 and will play the winner of Whitman and UW-Whitewater at 7 pm CT tomorrow.
In a game where both teams struggled to score, FDU-Florham put together the only run of the game, scoring on four consecutive possessions to build a 35-28 lead.
Tufts rallied back within two points and had four chances to tie or take the lead, but came away empty each time. After the last miss, Shalette Brown made a short jump shot for FDU-Florham to extend its lead to four.
Tufts’ Michaela North made one of two free throws to trim the Devils’ lead to 42-39, but the Jumbos did not score again. FDU-Florham had two chances to extend the lead from the free throw line and missed both shots. Tufts had one more chance to tie the game when Emma Roberson stole the FDU-Florham inbounds pass with 14 seconds left. After a timeout, the Jumbos could not get an open look and Hannah Foley missed an off balance desperation shot as time expired.March 21, 2014
MADISON, N.J. — In the summer of 2012, FDU-Florham head coach Marc Mitchell went to an AAU basketball game somewhere in New Jersey to watch a point guard he was recruiting, Alyssa McDonough. While he was watching McDonough, he noticed a forward named Shalette Brown. Mitchell asked Brown if she had plans for college, hoping she was a rising senior in high school, like McDonough.
Brown was a year ahead of McDonough in school and she was playing in her last AAU tournament. She told Mitchell that she had already committed to Montclair State. She had offers from some Division I and II schools, but picked Karin Harvey’s program. Brown explains, “They were the most consistent with calling, emailing and everything” during the recruiting process.
Congratulations To All Players! Teams are as follows…
16U Williams/Sessoms – Jada Atchison, Taylor Nelson, Gabraella Jones, Kendrea Williams, Yavonna Williams, Frankie Cherasaro, Wande Adeyemo, Tunde Adeyemo
Stone/Treadwell 16U - Jackie Rodriguez, Kadijah Mathews, Kyra Fox, Camille Duncan, Morgan Mitchell, Ashley Opitz, Evangela Morris, Elise Brown, Shauna Randolph, Amanda Carney, Ciara Tsannasen, Jayda Anderson, Sydney Bray
14U Williams/Lilenfeld – Imani Lue, Alexzandra Walker, Roshanna Lewis, Sierra Twomey, DreAsia Williams, Nikiyah Riddick, Baiylee Barnes, Charley Hay, Michelle Gutierrez
12U Herring/Fears – Mia Haskins, Zeniera James, Bianca Nakar, Mollie Brueggemeier, Inaya Thompson, Ivy Bethea, Tyla Fears, Nia Rosato, Leeyah Scott, Eliza Arocho
Tatyana Kelly has started each of the last 13 games for UMES this season, and has averaged 5.1 points per game. / SUBMITTED IMAGE
Written by Shawn Yonker (Staff Writer)
She decided as that season ended that she never wanted to play basketball again.
Good thing for her someone changed her mind.
The 6 foot, 3 inch sophomore forward is now a key piece of the future for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore women’s basketball team and has started each of the last 13 games, after missing the first 10 this season due to a broken hand.
“There was something about basketball that made me want to go back,” Kelly said. “Then once I got serious about AAU (at about 14), my AAU coach told me ‘We are going to make you into a Division I player.’”
Kelly made that her mission. She worked out with a trainer every day — sometimes twice a day.
Then she got good.
The phone call that eventually came from UMES assistant coach Cedric Jenkins peaked her interest immediately.
She had always wanted to come to an Historically Black College or University, and although she had never heard of UMES, she knew it was Division I and would have the close feel and strong culture she was looking for.
During her college search, she was seeking the closeness she didn’t have with her teammates as a tall and awkward young girl, but later found in the sixth grade with a school change.
Her height made the other kids ask if she played basketball. Her response was that she didn’t any more, until one day some close friends changed her mind.
So in a year’s time she went from “done” with basketball to a path that led her to the Hawks.
“At the time of my visit, it was an instant connection with the coaches, with the team and I loved the campus, so I felt like this was the right place to be,” Kelly said.
The adjustment to college wasn’t that hard for Kelly because she was used to working hard in the classroom and on the court. And coming to practice, where coach Fred Batchelor pushes her to get the most out of her, was completely comfortable.
Swish & Dish for Thursday, Feb. 27: GMC Preview
by Gregg Lerner on Thu, Feb 27, 2014 10:03 AM
Piscataway point guard Taylor Nelson looks to steer the second-seeded and defending champion Chiefs against upstart 12th-seed Bishop Ahr on Thursday in the Greater Middlesex County Tournament final.
Photo by Gregg Lerner
SWISH & DISH for Thursday, Feb. 27
GREATER MIDDLESEX CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
AT RUTGERS ATHLETIC CENTER
12-BISHOP AHR (16-8) vs. 2-PISCATAWAY (19-4), 6 p.m.
When last we metKendrea Williams clicked for 14 points and six rebounds and backcourt partner Kiki Bynes delivered 13 points and four assists when Piscataway registered a 51-41 decision over Bishop Ahr on Jan. 11. Jenna Harsh countered with 16 points and nine boards for Bishop Ahr. Piscataway used a 21-12 showing in the second quarter to build a 34-24 halftime lead, one that the Trojans cut in half by the start of the fourth quarter.
Bishop Ahr seeks its first GMC Tournament title since 2001 while defending champion Piscataway has been the county measuring stick for the last decade. The Chiefs aim for their 10th overall crown and six in nine years.
Players to watch
Bishop Ahr: The work ethic of forward Brianna Foster is vital and inspiring to the Trojans. The ultimate competitor on the boards, she is unequivocally the tone setter and energetic beacon that teammates dran from. Over the last nine games, Foster has averaged 13.6 rebounds and 11.2 points. She embodies all the qualities of an invaluable senior leader.
Piscataway: A reserved court demeanor does a fine job disguising the perimeter assassin that lurks with sophomore Kendrea Williams. In the Chiefs’ 62-48 semifinal triumph over Monroe, she connected on 5 of 10 from beyond the arc in providing a career-high 27 points. But, defenders beware: flash too quickly in attempt to close out, and the slick sophomore will have no problem introducing her speed to the basket off the dribble.
What to watch for
Bishop Ahr used an exclusive 2-3 zone in its 41-35 semifinal triumph over top-seeded East Brunswick to deter penetration and the defense may once again be the choice of coach Kevin Harper. Guard Lauren Barlow and Ragen Reddick close off the middle with Elle Cimilucca and Jenna Harsh getting to the wings to challenge shooters.
Piscataway shot 8 of 18 from 3-point range in the semifinals but can’t get overly enchanted with the shot. Sophomore point guard Taylor Nelson is a patient orchestrator and, along with Bynes will need to test the defense by getting into seams to strike an offensive balance in the halfcourt.
Foster shoulders a great deal of the rebounding load for Bishop Ahr but will need an assist from the 6-0 Harsh to contend with the Piscataway frontcourt of 5-9 Alliera McCoy and 5-10 junior reserve Wande Adeyemo. Bishop Ahr guards won’t be excluded from boxing out considering how quickly Bynes, Meaghan Wells and Nelson get to the glass.
Relying on its man-to-man, Piscataway must contest with a confidence Lauren Barlow. The sophomore gets to the rim and combines body control with a delicate touch. It also must ignore the size of Harsh that offers the perception of a low-post threat. While she can do a number underneath, her range from the perimeter demands equal respect.
Gregg Lerner covers girls basketball for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @gregglerner
Williams’ 27 paces Piscataway in GMC semis
by Gregg Lerner on Mon, Feb 24, 2014 11:02 PM
Updated Tue, Feb 25, 2014 2:44 PM
With a silky release to match her smooth court etiquette, Kendrea Williams is outfitted with all the accoutrements to alter the complexion of a game in an instant.
The soft spoken and mild-manner impression the 5-8 Piscataway sophomore casts is genuine but the warmth of her personality was no match Monday night when measured against the heat emitting from her accurate right hand.
With the steady aim of a marksman, Williams caught fire from 3-point range in the opening quarter, hitting three consecutive treys. When you’re as hot as she was, there comes a battle with temptation, to keep firing away until out of ammo. But, Williams is smarter than that.
“I needed to keep balance,” she said in regard to offsetting her long-distance shooting with dribble penetration. “Because they know I’m a shooter, I have to switch it up. When a defender comes out on me, then I drive to the basket.”
It was the string of threes that got second-seeded and defending champion Piscataway an early lead and it never relinquished the grip, pulling away for a 62-48 victory over third-seeded Monroe on Monday night in the first of two Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament semifinals played at South Brunswick High School.
The Chiefs (19-4), winners of seven straight, will meet 12th-seeded Bishop Ahr (16-8), which eliminated East Brunswick (16-5), the top seed, 41-35, in the nightcap, on Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Rutgers Athletic Center.
Williams played a big part in Piscataway’s return engagement, shooting 10 of 19 from the field, including 5 of 10 from 3-point range, on her way to a career-high 27 points. Her fast start, which counted four jumpers, all beyond 18 feet, yielded 11 points in the first quarter and was enough to put Piscataway in front, 18-17.
The perimeter assault extended Monroe’s matchup a little further and opened up some lanes for the Chiefs to explore off the dribble. It was Williams who led that new course of attack with a layup to start the second quarter as the offensive operations moved inside the arc.
Junior guard Cindy Foresta, who scored a team-high 15 points, converted underneath for Monroe to trim Piscataway’s advantage to 24-23 with 3:19 left in the first half. The Chiefs responded with a 7-0 run powered by senior guard Kiki Bynes, who sank a tough baseline turnaround and backed that by teaming with junior point guard Taylor Nelson on a trap at midcourt, resulting in Bynes racing in for a layup and a 31-23 cushion.
“We still have to attack,” Piscataway coach Corey Floyd said, emphasizing how important penetration is to the overall plan. “We want to split the defense off the dribble with Kiki and Taylor. Once they collapse, we’re kicking it out Kendrea. That’s our forte.”
Bynes, who complemented Williams with 23 points, flaunted her exterior touch in the third, burying consecutive threes to spark a 12-2 burst that broke the contest wide open and built a 46-32 margin with 2:16 showing in the third. Not to be left out of the perimeter party, one that resulted in eight 3-pointers, Williams contributed her fourth to the burst while Nelson supplied half of her eight points to the surge.
By the time Williams drained the last of her five treys, Piscataway was comfortably in charge, 62-43. The last, a credit to Bynes, who had worked the Monore defense with her elusiveness off the dribble to stick three successive pull-ups to draw defenders toward the middle, thus setting up her kick out for Williams’ jumper.
“The same way we switch up out defense, going from 1-3-1 to zone to man, we like to switch up our offense,” Bynes said of the unpredictablity that can’t be overlooked. “Then, teams can’t figure out how to defend us. When I saw them leak out on Kendrea more, I went inside because that’s what I’m strong at.”
Sophomore forward Alliera McCoy grabbed 10 rebounds for Piscataway and Nelson dished out five assists. Junior Erica Junquet and sophomore Ashlyn Petersen each finished with 10 points for Monroe. Erin Seppi, a 5-10 sophomore forward, cleared nine boards for the Falcons while Petersen and Foresta added seven apiece.
Monroe (20-3) 17 11 06 14—48
Piscataway (19-4) 18 13 19 12—62
Monroe: Demi Rousseau 3-0-0-6; Erica Junquet 2-1-3-10; Cindy Foresta 4-1-4-15; Nichole Tatte 0-0-0-0; Erin Seppi 1-0-2-4; Ashlyn Petersen 3-1-1-10. Totals: 13-4-10—48.
Piscataway: Kiki Bynes 7-3-0-23; Meaghan Wells 0-0-0-0; Kelsey Nugent 0-0-0-0; Wande Adeyemo 1-0-0-2; Alliera McCoy 0-0-2-2; Kendrea Williams 5-5-2-27; Taylor Nelson 3-0-2-8. Totals: 16-8-6—62.
Gregg Lerner covers girls basketball for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @gregglerner