How Sweet it Is!!! Women’s Basketball Beat Lebanon Valley 71-51 to Advance to NCAA Sweet 16 29-0 Red Hawks Head to Sectional Tournament For First Time in School History

3/2/2013 7:50:00 PM

Taylor Jeffers

Box Score

Annville, PA – The magical season that has been for the Montclair State women’s basketball team will last a little longer.

Senior forward Taylor Jeffers (Franklin Township, NJ, Franklin) scored a game-high 16 points while freshman Shalette Brown (Somerset, NJ, Franklin Township) and junior Nicosia Henry (Bolingbrook, IL, Bolingbrook) each scored 15 as the unbeaten Red Hawks advanced to the “Sweet 16” of the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Championship for the first time in program history with a 71-51 win over Lebanon Valley on Saturday evening.

The victory sends unbeaten Montclair State, now 29-0, to next week’s Sectional Tournament which begins on Friday, March 8. MSU will face Christopher Newport on Friday at a time and site to be determined. That information will be announced on Sunday, March 3 by the NCAA.

MSU, ranked No. 5 by D3Hoops.com and No. 7 in the WBCA/USA Today Sports Division III Poll, continues what has arguably become one of the finest, if not the finest season in program history. The Red Hawks, who have already set school records for most victories in a season, best start and longest winning streak in athletic history, are now moving into some select company.

The 29 victories by Montclair ties them with the 1995-96 Rowan (29-1) and 2009-10 Kean (29-2) squads for the second-highest single-season total in New Jersey women’s collegiate basketball history trailing only Rutgers University’s 30 victories (30-3) during the 1986-87 campaign. The Red Hawks also tied those two squads for the longest winning streak in State history and the most consecutive victories in a season as both Rowan and Kean each won 29 during their record-setting years.

Against host Lebanon Valley, the Red Hawks never trailed and except for two early ties led virtually the entire way. Tied at 4-4, Brown put MSU in front with a jumper and Henry scored four straight giving the Red Hawks a 10-4 advantage with 14:26 to play.

Kiely Chaklos connected twice from the foul line to get the Dutchwomen (24-5) within four points but that would be as close as Lebanon Valley would get the rest of the way. Jeffers countered with a jumper the next time down the floor and a layup by Melissa Tobie (Elizabeth, NJ, Roselle Catholic) with 9:21 to play gave MSU its first double-digit lead at 22-11.

Jen Kuczynski (Springfield, NJ, Jonathan Dayton) drained a three pointer for a 31-15 lead with just over four minutes to play and hit again with 27 ticks showing as Montclair State held a comfortable 40-19 lead at halftime.

Montclair held LVC to 35 percent shooting (7-of-20) in the first half and outrebounded the Dutchwomen 24-14 over the first 20 minutes, including 14 on the offensive glass that yielded 12 second-chance points. MSU also turned 13 turnovers by the hosts in to 13 points.

In the second half, LVC went on an 11-5 run to bring the deficit down to 45-30 on Kerri Stolle’s three-pointer with 15 minutes left. But the Red Hawks countered with a 17-4 spurt led by six points from Jeffers and five from Brown as the lead was boosted to 62-32 with 10:14 remaining.

Tobie added eight points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals for Montclair State with freshman guard Kelly Williams (Titusville, NJ, Hopewell Valley) contributing seven points, five rebounds and three assists.

Montclair State, making its fourth NCAA Tournament appearance, finished with a  41-31 rebounding edge, including 21 offensive and forced the Dutchwomen in to 25 total turnovers which led to 25 points. MSU also held LVC without a field goal over the last five minutes.

The Red Hawks now move on where they will face a Christopher Newport Team that earned its way into the Sweet 16 with a 56-50 victory over Marymount (VA) in the second round on Saturday. It will be the second meeting between the teams as they last met during the 1997-98 season with the Captains (29-2) earning a 70-68 victory.

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