Montclair, NJ – Sophomore forward Melissa Tobie (Elizabeth, NJ / Roselle Catholic) scored 17 points and added nine rebounds and six steals as Montclair State routed Widener University, 77-34 in the championship game of the MSU Holiday Tournament at the Panzer Athletic Center on Sunday afternoon.
Freshman Shalette Brown (Somerset, NJ / Franklin) had 12 points for the Red Hawks as they remained unbeaten at 13-0. Montclair, ranked 22nd by D3Hoops.com, is now off to the best start in program history while its 13 consecutive victories in the longest since the 1977-78 season when it won 19 in a row in reaching the AIAW Final Four in Los Angeles.
Junior guard Jennifer Egee (Ridley Park, PA / Ridley) had 12 points and seven rebounds for the Pride, who fell to 9-3 as their five-game winning streak came to an end.
A close contest through the first five minutes, the Pride led 8-7 on a three-pointer by Joanna Persiano (Absecon, NJ / Holy Spirit). But that would be the last lead Widener would hold as Nicosia Henry (Bolingbrook, IL / Bolingbrook), who was named the Most Valuable Player, scored four straight points to put Montclair State back in front.
Egee tied the game at 11-11 with 11:56 to go on a free throw however Tobie answered with a three-point play for a 14-11 MSU lead with 11:25 remaining. Egee added a layup to trim the lead back to 14-13 but those were the last points Widener would get for the next seven minutes as Montclair State went on a 15-0 scoring spree.
Janitza Aquino (Kearny, NJ / Kearny) began the run with a layup and Brown scored the next six for a 22-13 lead with 8:40 left. Henry added three as the Red Hawk advantage grew to 29-13 before a three-pointer by Persiano made the score 29-16 with 4:26 to go.
Montclair then ran off 17 straight points to close out the half, including six by Brown as Widener was held scoreless over that span. A layup by Sandra Gee (Allentown, PA / Emmaus) at the buzzer gave MSU a 46-16 lead at the break.
In the second half the Red Hawks continued the run with the first 12 points making it 29 unanswered as Widener struggled mightily from the field. The Pride, who shot 19 percent for the game (12-of-63), were held scoreless for the first 5:14 of the period and did not connect on a field goal until 14:46 remaining as Persiano ended a drought that totaled 8:40 on the clock. Montclair got four points apiece from Aquino and Tobie in the run with Gee adding three as the lead was pushed to 58-18.
Henry finished with nine points and four rebounds for Montclair State, which got 11 points off the bench by freshman guard Jen Kuczynski (Springfield, NJ / Jonathan Dayton). Junior guard Sara Kluth (Lynbrook, NY / St. Mary's) had five steals while Gee and Taylor Jeffers (Franklin Township, NJ / Franklin) had six points and six rebounds apiece. The Red Hawks forced Widener into 29 turnovers converting that into 26 points while also recording 20 steals and outrebounding the Pride, 55-39 with 20 coming on the offensive glass.
Persiano had eight points for Widener as the Pride were held to a season-low for points.
Henry, Tobie and Brown were named to the All-Tournament Team from MSU along with Widener's Kate Dellinger (Wrightsville, PA / Eastern York). Vassar's Cydni Matsuoka (Sacramento, CA / John F. Kennedy) and Washington College's Latisha Peldger (Chesapeake, VA / Indian River) rounded out the All-Tournament Team.
In the Third-Place contest, Vassar College (7-1) knocked off Washington College (6-5), 66-53.
Matsuoka led Vassar with 19 points, five rebounds and six assists as the Brewers also got 16 points from Nyah Berg (Sudbury, MA / Lincoln-Sudbury).
Pledger led the Shorewomen with a double-double performance of 16 points and 13 rebounds.