Ewing, NJ – The College of New Jersey's Charlotte Schum and Kate O'Leary combined for 12 points in a 14-3 run to end the first half as the Lions used the spurt to propel themselves to a 62-59 victory over No. 22 Montclair State at Packer Hall on Saturday afternoon.
Samantha Famulare finished with 20 points for the Lions (19-5), who returned the favor to the Red Hawks following a 54-51 loss to MSU at the Panzer Athletic Center on January 13th. More importantly, TCNJ pulled within a game on Montclair for first-place in the NJAC standings.
New Jersey improved to 14-3 in league play, one game back of 15-2 Montclair State with one game remaining. The Red Hawks host Rutgers-Camden on Wednesday, February 14 at 6:00 p with the Lions taking on Rutgers-Newark at the same time in Newark, NJ. A Montclair victory would give the Red Hawks the regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in the tournament.
If the two teams finish tied, the conference's tiebreaking system would be used since MSU and TCNJ split their two games this season.
Katie Sire finished with 24 points while Taylor Harmon added 15 for the Red Hawks (20-3).
Montclair led 13-11 after one quarter and doubled-up the Lions on the scoreboard scoring the first nine points for a 22-11 advantage with 7:02 to play. But TCNJ scored the next 11 points tying the game at 22-22 on a layup by Schum with 2:48 to go before halftime. Sire ended the run with a jumper on the next possession however a Jen Byrne retied the game and then gave TCNJ the lead with 1:31 left making the score 26-25. O'Leary drilled a three-pointer with 19 seconds remaining sending the Lions into the half up 29-25.
Famulare's three 59 seconds into the third put New Jersey in front 35-25. A free throw by Byrne gave the Lions their largest lead at 46-35 before the Red Hawks closed out the third with the final nine points. Sire had five of those points including two foul shots with 19 seconds as MSU trailed 46-44 heading into the fourth.
TCNJ increased its lead to six points in the final quarter but again the Red Hawks battled back and got within 57-56 after Kate Tobie scored with 1:48 to go. Byrne answered with a three-pointer at the other end 10 seconds later extending the advantage to four. Harmon hit from the line and then scored on a layup with 18 seconds left making it one-point game, 60-59.
Famulare was fouled with 13 seconds left and hit both from the line putting TCNJ up 62-59. Montclair had one last chance to tie the game however Tobie's three-point attempt at the buzzer was off the mark.
Tobie, who returned to the lineup after missing the last three games, finished with five points, eight rebounds and nine assists. Alex McKinnon and Domonique Wirsing had six points apiece.