Montclair, N.J. - Freshman forward Melissa Tobie (Elizabeth, N.J./Roselle Catholic) topped three players in double figures as Montclair State University celebrated Senior Day with an easy 70-42 victory over New Jersey City University in a New Jersey Athletic Conference game Wednesday evening at the Panzer Athletic Center.
The win was the ninth in the last 10 games and the seventh in the last eight conference contests as Montclair State improved its record to 17-7 on the season and 7-5 in the NJAC. The victory keeps the Red Hawks in contention for a playoff spot in the NJAC Tournament. Tied for second in the North Division with Rutgers University-Newark and a game ahead of Ramapo College, MSU needs to finish among the top three teams in the division to advance to the postseason.
Tobie, one of two players ranked in the top five in the conference in both scoring and rebounding, scored 15 points, including 13 in the first half, and contributed six steals and three blocked shots in just 22 minutes of playing time. Junior forward Taylor Jeffers (Franklin Township, N.J./Franklin) had 13 points and nine rebounds in a reserve role and senior guard Jaime Ericson (Flemington, N.J./Hunterdon Central) scored 12 points for MSU.
After the score was tied three times over the game's opening five and a half minutes, Montclair State took advantage of turnovers and utilized the fast break to take control of the contest. Tied at 6-6, the Red Hawks scored the next eight points to start a 24-10 run and built a 14-point bulge, their biggest margin of the opening period, at 30-16 with 3:09 left. Tobie highlighted the scoring spree with 10 points. MSU maintained its double-digit advantage into the halftime intermission, ahead 35-22.
New Jersey City, which fell for the 14th time in its last 15 games, dropped to 4-19 overall and remained winless in the conference at 0-11. The Gothic Knights, who shot just 35.3 percent from the field and committed 24 turnovers in the game, led only once in the contest at 6-4 with 15:47 to play in the first half. Sophomore forward Alnisa Hernaiz (Irvington, N.J./Irvington) was the lone bright spot for NJCU with game-high totals of 16 points and 12 rebounds.
MSU's lead was never challenged in the second half. The Red Hawks came out strong, holding New Jersey City to just three field goals in the first nine and a half minutes of the period in increasing the margin to 22 points at 50-28 with 11:32 left.
Prior to the final home regular season contest for Montclair State, the Red Hawks honored Erickson, the 17th MSU player to score more than 1,000 points in her career, and fellow senior guard Jessica Sartorio (Egg Harbor City, N.J./Absegami) for their contributions to the basketball program. The game was also part of Play4Kay, women's college basketball's fight against breast cancer. Proceeds from the game will be donated to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, which is named after the legendary North Carolina State head coach who passed away after a lengthy battle against the illness in 2009.
Montclair State closes out the regular season next Wednesday at Ramapo College while New Jersey City travels to William Paterson University on Saturday in conference action.