MONTCLAIR, N.J. – No. 8 Montclair State University connected on its first five shots of the game and never looked back as the Red Hawks defeated Regis College, 78-51, in the first round of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championships at the Panzer Athletic Center on Friday evening.
Freshman Amanda Hawkesworth (Abington, Mass.) had 18 points for the Pride, who finished the season at 23-5. It was the third consecutive 20-win season for Regis, which earned its way into its second NCAA appearance after winning the New England Collegiate Conference last week. The loss also snapped the Pride's 17-game winning streak dating back to January when Regis fell to No. 6 Tufts.
The Red Hawks (26-2) shot 69 percent from behind the arc (9-of-13) in the first half as they advanced to the second round of the tournament with their 12th straight victory. Montclair will face Cabrini College (24-4) in the second round on Saturday, March 8 at 5:00 pm with the winner advancing to next week's Sectional Tournament.
Last season, Montclair knocked off Regis in the first round of the NCAAs at Lebanon Valley College scoring the game's first 10 points in an 87-47 win. It was almost an identical start on Friday evening as MSU put up 11 of the game's first 12 points.
Melissa Tobie (Elizabeth, N.J.) drained a three from the left corner to open the scoring and after a free throw by the Pride, Janitza Aquino (Kearny, N.J.) also buried a three-pointer with Tobie adding a layup before a three-pointer by Jenny Malone (North Plainfield, N.J.) made the score 11-1 with 17:39 left.
Hawkesworth snapped the run with a layup, however back-to-back three-pointers by Aquino and Malone, followed by an Aquino layup increased Montclair State's lead to 19-3 with 14:14 to go. A three-pointer by Hawkesworth made the score 27-8 but Sage Bennett (Sicklerville, N.J.) answered with one of the nine three-pointers in the half by the Red Hawks pushing the lead back over 20 points for the remainder of the game.
Trailing 60-24 with 11:30 remaining in the game, the Pride turned to their press and tried to create points off turnovers. Regis went on a 23-9 run over the next six-plus minutes of action to make it a 69-47 ballgame on a layup by Janaya Bradley (New Haven, Conn.), before falling by the final score of 78-51.
Bradley had 10 points, three rebounds and three steals with Emilee Marro (Bedford, N.H.) adding nine points, three rebounds and three steals. Senior Claire Ramonas closed out her outstanding career with seven points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Malone added five rebounds and five assists with Rachael Krauss (Farmingdale, N.J.) also collecting five rebounds in addition to scoring five points for the Red Hawks. Nicosia Henry (Bolingbrook, Ill.) posted five steals along with four points and three rebounds. Tobie rounded out her evening with 16 points, four blocks, three rebounds and two steals.
Release courtesy of Montclair State University Sports Information