Montclair, NJ – Junior Katie Sire scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds as No. 9 Montclair State fended off a feisty New Jersey City squad in a 77-63 win at the Panzer Athletic Center on Wednesday evening.
Freshman Alex McKinnon scored 13 points, grabbed three rebounds and handed out five assists as the Red Hawks (13-0, 6-0 NJAC) used a 25-12 third quarter to pull away for its 27th straight win against the Gothic Knights (4-9, 0-6 NJAC). MSU leads the all-time series 58-3.
Freshman Tu'ziah Hall matched Sire with 22 points for NJCU, which was playing for the first time since a December 20 victory against Vaughn College.
The Red Hawks trailed just twice in the game but couldn't seem to shake the gritty Knights who led 15-14 after Kiana Briggs hit a three with 38 seconds left in the opening period. Sire drove in for a layup 20 seconds later as Montclair led 16-15 after one period.
In the second Zoe Curtis connected from behind the arc to widen the lead to 21-15 however NJCU kept hanging around on got within 28-27 with 4:19 to go before halftime after Aaliyah Saud hit a three-pointer. Kiarra Dillard answered that with a three of her own but a three by Tiana Hill knotted the game at 33-33 with 1:13 to play. Curtis and McKinnon each had baskets for Montclair however buzzer beater by Jazz Randall sent Montclair into halftime with just a two-point advantage, 37-35.
A 14-6 run to open the third quarter got the Red Hawks' lead into double digits. Rachael Krauss hit two free throws and a steal and layup in the backcourt by Tobie put Montclair in front 57-43 with five minutes left. Tobie, who finished with 10 points, got the final bucket of the period as MSU led 62-47 heading into the fourth.
Domonique Wirsing put back a miss giving Montclair State its biggest lead of the game, 66-47 with 5:51 to go. NJCU would make one final push cutting the lead to 71-63 with 1:10 left however the Red Hawks closed out the game going 6-of-6 from the line.
Krauss had 11 points and five rebounds for the Red Hawks while Tobie added four assists and three steals to complete her night. Dillard had six point and Curtis five along with five caroms for MSU, which outrebounded the Gothic Knights, 43-28.
Montclair returns to action on Sunday, January 8 against Stockton University in Galloway Township at 6:00 pm.