Valiants Drop Road Finale to Monarchs, 53-41

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WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Manhattanville women's basketball team dropped their final road game of the 2011-12 season to the King's (Pa.) Monarchs on Saturday afternoon by the score of 53-41. The Valiants were led by senior Courtney Turner (Staten Island, N.Y./Ralph McKee) who had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

As a team the Valiants shot only 27.4% but it was still better than their opponents who shot 24.6% from the floor. The difference in the game was the turnover differential, Manhattanville gave the ball away 36 times to the Monarchs 16 giveaways. King's capitalized on the Valiant miscues by getting 23 of their 53 points off of turnovers.

In the first half both teams struggled to find any consistent stretches of shooting as both sides combined for a total of 16-for-67 (23.8%) shooting. The first basket of the game came 1:44 into the contest when junior Taylor Wilson (Pearl River, N.Y./Pearl River) broke the scoreless deadlock to give the Valiants the early 2-0 lead. The Valiants opened up their lead to 8-2, the Monarchs responded by making four subs to change up the players on the court and it worked as they went on a 10-2 run.

With the Valiants down a basket, senior Kelli Hyjek (Tolland, Conn./Tolland) made a basket to tie the game at 12 with seven minutes to go in the opening period. Both teams went quiet from the field over the next 2:30 until King's broke the drought with a pair of free throws at 4:31.

The Monarchs continued to expand their lead up to 19-14 with a layup which capped off the scoring for King's in the first half. Manhattanville over the final 2:31 went on an 8-0 run that saw Wilson hit a free throw, freshman Nicole Robinson (Greenburgh, N.Y./The Ursuline School) hitting a jumper, Turner hitting a free throw, and capped off by a Beranda Felder (Brooklyn, N.Y./Midwood) hitting a layup with eight seconds to go in the period. The Valiants took their slim 20-19 lead into the break.

After halftime the Monarchs came out hitting the first five points but Turner stopped the run hitting a basket and the 'and one' free throw to trim the lead to one. Again, both teams went cold for the next three minutes until freshman Alyson Caiazzo (Brooklyn, N.Y/St. Saviour) hit a shot to regain the one-point lead, seconds later Wilson hit another shot to make the score 27-24.

A pair of back-to-back turnovers allowed the Monarchs to come back with four unanswered and took the one-point lead back with 12:44 to go. The lead see-sawed back and forth as Hyjek put the Valiants back on top at 29-28 that was followed by a Paige Carlin three-pointer. As the time crossed into the final 10 minutes of the game, King's hit back-to-back three pointers and followed it up with another basket to take a 10-point lead.

Hyjek stopped the run with a jumper at 9:00, following the basket both teams went cold for another 2:11 as the teams continued to miss their chances. King's broke the drought with a three-pointer from Samantha Simcox. Hyjek followed it up with a pair of free throws to keep her team within single digits at 6:32.

Once again the teams went on a lengthy scoring drought as three minutes ticked off the clock without either side hitting a basket. Turner hit a free throw to trim the lead to eight but King's came right back and hit a basket and the ensuing free throw on the 'and one.' The Valiants refused to roll over and fought back with a three pointer from Wilson with 2:24 to go to make the score 45-37.

The Valiants began to play the foul game to attempt a comeback, and while King's struggled at first from the charity stripe in the waning minutes, Manhattanville struggled just as much on the other end of the court. During the latter stages, King's improved at the free throw line going 7-for-8 down the stretch to earn the 53-41 victory, freshman Leah Dagen (Gaithersburg, Md./Quince Orchard) capped off the scoring for Manhattanville with a jumper at 19:34.

Manhattanville (7-15, 2-10 Freedom) will look to come back on Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m. when they play host to the Aggies of Delaware Valley College as part of "Think Pink" where the Valiants will raise money for the fight against women's cancer. The game will also be the final women's basketball broadcast of the year on GoValiants.TV. King's (20-3, 12-0 Freedom) will look to stay perfect in conference play when they travel to nearby Misericordia University on Tuesday, also at 6:00 p.m.