Jersey City, NJ – It was a good news Wednesday for the No. 17 Montclair State women's basketball team.
First the Red Hawks earned themselves the No. 1 spot in the first published NCAA Atlantic Regional rankings. MSU then went out and rolled to its third straight win as all 12 players got into the scoring column in an 87-36 win at New Jersey City University.
The win plus a victory by Rowan University over Kean in Union, NJ gave Montclair the best news of the day – the NJAC regular-season championship.
Sophomore Kiarra Dillard scored a career-best 18 points along with eight rebounds, three assists and two steals as MSU earned its fifth straight conference regular-season title and No. 1 seed in the NJAC Tournament. Montclair, the four-time defending champion, will have a first-round bye and host a semifinal matchup at the Panzer Athletic Center on Wednesday, February 22.
Not only did each Red Hawk score in the game but each also had a rebound and assist as MSU collected 24 helpers on its 32 field goals. Katie Sire and Yazmine Lacey had 14 points and five rebounds apiece while Erica Snow came off the bench to score 12 points. MSU's reserves scored 58 of the 87 points as it registered its 28th consecutive win against the Gothic Knights (4-19, 0-16 NJAC).
Montclair stormed out of the gate with the first 15 points of the game and led 30-10 at the end of the first quarter. Sage Bennett scored 11 seconds into the contest and added a three-point play two minutes later before a three by Sire made the score 8-0. Sire tallied five more points before a fast-break layup from Kate Tobie gave Montclair a 15-0 lead with 4:47 to play.
MSU led 46-20 at halftime with 14 assists on 17 made field goals. Montclair also took advantage of a 27-18 advantage on the boards, including 13 on the offensive glass.
Dillard scored 12 in the second half when Montclair State outscored NJCU 41-16.
The Red Hawks are back in action on Saturday, February as it looks to avenge one of its two losses. Montclair hosts The College of New Jersey at 3:00 pm. The Lions handed MSU its first loss of the year 49-40 in Ewing, NJ on January 14.
Saturday's game will also be Senior Day as Montclair will honor its four – Curtis, Snow, Krauss and Bennett.