Sharp-Shooter Aquino Leads No. 11 Montclair State Past William Paterson, 81-60

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Wayne, NJ – Junior guard Janitza Aquino (Kearny, NJ, Kearny) drained a school-record eight three-point field goals finishing with 26 points as No. 11/13 Montclair State exploded for 53 points in the first half en route to an 81-60 victory over William Paterson on Wednesday evening.

Senior Nicosia Henry (Bolingbrook, IL, Bolingbrook) added a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds as the Red Hawks (17-2, 11-1 NJAC) recorded their third straight victory while defeating its local rival for the fifth straight time. MSU won the previous meeting between the two this season, 71-67 at the Panzer Athletic Center on November 26.

Aquino scored 24 of her points in the first half, all from behind the arc, as she broke the single-game record of six held by three players. She went 8-of-9 from behind the line and her sharp-shooting prowess was part of an outstanding first-half effort that saw Montclair State build a 53-20 halftime lead.

The Red Hawks shot 59 percent (19-of-32) from the field, 12-of-18 from three-point range as it took advantage of 27 percent shooting (7-of-26) by the Pioneers (10-9, 7-5 NJAC) while turning 13 WPU turnovers into 15 points.

Montclair, which never trailed in the game, got a basket from freshman Sage Bennett (Sicklerville, NJ, Winslow) to open the game and three three-point field goals by Aquino which helped build an 11-2 lead. After a WPU basket, Aquino hit again from behind the arc igniting a nine-point run making the score 20-4 with 13:36 remaining.  William Paterson would cut the lead back to 10 points however Bennett scored on a layup and Aquino and freshman Rachael Krauss (Farmingdale, NJ, Colts Neck) each hit three-pointers pushing the MSU lead to 35-17 with 5:53 left.

Aquino would hit twice more, the last coming with 3:11 to go giving MSU a 47-20 advantage en route to its 33-point halftime lead.

William Paterson would get no closer than the final score.

Aquino broke the single-game mark set by Cathy Madalone against Frostburg State in November 1990 and equaled by Erin Schultz in 2002 and Jaime Ericson in 2011.

Henry added three assists and three steals for the Red Hawks while Aquino collected four rebounds and two assists to complete her night. Junior forward Melissa Tobie (Elizabeth, NJ, Roselle Catholic) had nine points and a game-high 15 rebounds along with five assists while sophomore guard Kayla Ceballos (Brooklyn, NY, Christ the King) added 11 points, four rebounds and three steals.

The Red Hawks return to action on Saturday, February 1 with another road NJAC contest as MSU heads to Camden, NJ to face Rutgers-Camden at 1:00 pm.