MAHWAH, N.J. (NJCUGothicKnights.com) | All five starters for the New Jersey City University women's basketball team finished in double figures, but Ramapo College was able to hold on for the 74-65 New Jersey Athletic Conference win in the 2018-19 season finale for both teams, on February 13 at the Bill Bradley Center.
After going winless last year and five in the previous three seasons, NJCU (5-20, 2-16 NJAC) matched that total in a year of rebirth and progress, with several records and important victories along the way.
Senior guard Marajiah Bacon—the all-time leading scorer in NJAC history— finishing a strong campaign second in school history to Monique Hemingway in field goals made (210), total points scored (574), and points per game (23.0). Bacon also finished in the top five single-season school records for free throws made (111) and steals per game (4.1). Bacon set the NJCU single-game record for points in a game (46) and her two triple-doubles lead the nation and are an NJCU single-season and career record.
In head coach Pat Devaney Sr. first season he saw the team set single-game records for three pointers made (12), three-point field goal percentage (70.6%), and steals (39), as well as break a 42-game overall losing streak and a 58-game conference losing streak.
NJCU did accomplish a season-first in their final game, as they saw all five starters reach double figures in the loss. Freshman forward Zyearah Taylor-Gaston led the way with 15 points in just 12 minutes while playing with four fouls. Senior guard Jesenia Montalvo went 3-for-6 from deep en route to 13 points, four rebounds, and three steals. Marajiah Bacon had 12 points, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals, while her sister Miesha Bacon posted a strong 12-point, 12-rebound, three-assist double-double. It was the sixth double-double of her career—all at NJCU. Senior swing Christine Bizub rounded out the starting five with 12 points and five rebounds in 38 minutes. All five players took at least 10 shots in the egalitarian NJCU offense.
However, Ramapo's bench outscored NJCU's bench 29-1. The Roadrunners (11-14, 6-12 NJAC) had three scorers in double figures themselves, with junior forward Jenna Harsh (Metuchen, N.J.) coming off the bench to lead the way with 17 points and nine rebounds. Junior guard Cherie Smedile (Saddle Brook, N.J.) also had an excellent game with 14 points and nine rebounds, while junior guard Samantha Rinaldi (Ridgefield Park, N.J.) chipped in a Baker's dozen on the strength of an 11-of-12 night from the charity stripe.
The Knights started the game with four quick points, with Marajiah Bacon finding Taylor-Gaston for an open jumper before Bizub got a steal and a lay-in for a quick 4-0 lead. Midway through the first, the Roadrunners had swung that four-point margin in their favor (12-8), and the first ended with Ramapo up 18-10.
The Roadrunners extended their lead to 11 to start the second, but the Knights proceeded to rattle off eight straight, and the game went into the break with Ramapo leading by six. The Roadrunners did a great job limiting Bacon in the first half, as the senior captain had just two points on 1-of-8 shooting before the break.
The third quarter saw the Knights briefly take the lead, as Taylor-Gaston took over, driving aggressively to the rim and giving NJCU a 32-31 lead with 7:35 in the third. Ramapo responded immediately, however, going on a 19-3 run right after and taking a 13-point lead into the fourth (50-37).
The Knights clawed in the fourth, as Bacon finally got going, and they drew to within striking distance at the 7:03 mark (52-47), but Ramapo's strong second half offense (45 points) and edge in terms of times going to the line (31 free throws for Ramapo, compared to 14 for NJCU) were enough to hold off the Knights.
- Series: 73rd meeting, Ramapo leads 45-28.
- Marajiah Bacon finishes her career with 2,161 career points, 30th in Division III history. Full list: http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/stats/w_basketball_RB/2019/D3.pdf
- Marajiah Bacon finishes her season with a points per game average of 23.0. She easily led the NJAC in scoring and, depending on how final games shake out, will likely rank sixth in the country. Her steals per game average finished the year at 4.1, where she is likely to rank fifth in the country.
- Miesha Bacon collected the sixth double-double of her lone season at NJCU.
- Christine Bizub scored in double figures for the fifth time this season and ninth time in her career.
- Jesenia Montalvo scored in double figures for the fifth time this season and the 15th time in her career.
- Zyearah Taylor-Gaston came one point away from her career-high, as the freshman reached double figures for the sixth time in her debut season with the Knights.
- Marajiah Bacon finished her career having scored in double figures 91 times in 93 career games between Kean (2015-18, 67 times in 68 games) and NJCU (24 times in 25 games). Other updated career totals for Bacon:
- 20-Point Games: 61 (44 at Kean, 17 at NJCU)
- 25-Point Games: 42 (30 at Kean, 12 at NJCU)
- 30-Point Games: 21 (16 at Kean, five at NJCU)
- 35-Point Games: 10 (eight at Kean, two at NJCU)
- 40-Point Games: 5 (four at Kean; career high, 46 at NJCU)
- Here are Marajiah Bacon's final standings among the single-season NJCU records:
1. 620 Monique Hemingway (24 games) - 1988-89
2. 574 Marajiah Bacon (25 games) - 2018-19
3. 462 Chris Mosca (22 games) - 1980-81
4. 461 Doris Nicholson (27 games) - 1988-89
5. 443 Tara Mitchell (23 games) - 1997-98
Scoring average (minimum 10 games)
1. 25.8 Monique Hemingway (24 games) 1988-89
2. 23.0 Marajiah Bacon (25 games) 2018-19
3. 21.0 Chris Mosca (22 games) 1980-81
4. 20.7 Patrice Hurt (13 games) 1984-85
5. 19.3 Tara Mitchell (23 games) 1997-98
Field goals made
1. 241 Monique Hemingway (24 games) - 1988-89
2. 210 Marajiah Bacon (25 games) - 2018-19
3. 205 Doris Nicholson (27 games) - 1988-89
4. 173 Doris Nicholson (22 games) - 1987-88
5. 172 Tara Mitchell (23 games) - 1997-98
Field goals attempted
1. 582 Marajiah Bacon (25 games) - 2018-19
2. 477 Monique Hemingway (24 games) - 1988-89
3. 430 Tara Mitchell (23 games) - 1997-98
4. 404 Lashawn Overton (22 games) - 2008-09
5. 403 Ebony Cunningham (23 games) - 2009-10
Free throws made
1. 154 Chris Mosca (22 games) - 1980-81
2. 138 Monique Hemingway (24 games) - 1988-89
3. 135 Bria Smith (25 games) - 2014-15
4. 111 Marajiah Bacon (25 games) - 2018-19
5. 99 Tara Mitchell (23 games) - 1997-98
Steals average (minimum 10 games)
1. 5.4 Latrese McNair (27 games) 2004-05
2. 5.1 Latrese McNair (24 games) 2005-06
3. 4.4 Latrese McNair (25 games) 2006-07
4. 4.1 Marajiah Bacon (25 games) 2018-19
5. 4.0 Monique Hemingway (21 games) 1984-85
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