JERSEY CITY, N.J. (NJCUGothicKnights.com) | No. 17/17 Montclair State University, the four-time defending New Jersey Athletic Conference champions, scored the first 15 points of the game before cruising to an 87-36 victory over host New Jersey City University in NJAC women's basketball action on February 8 inside the John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center ("Charlie Brown Court").
The victory gave Montclair State its fifth consecutive NJAC regular season championship and secured the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. MSU, ranked No. 17 in both the D3hoops.com and the USA Today/WBCA Division III national polls, improved to 21-2 and 14-2 in the NJAC and did not allow the Gothic Knights to score more than 10 points in a quarter.
The Montclair reserves outscored the NJCU (4-19, 0-16 NJAC, Lost 11) bench, 58-8 and the Red Hawks turned 22 Gothic Knight giveaways into a 29-9 margin in points off turnovers and a 24-2 advantage on the fast break.
Senior guard Kiana Briggs (Paterson, N.J./Passaic County Tech) earned her first-career double-double with a season-high 16 points and career-high 11 boards (seven defensive), adding three steals in 34 minutes of play. She scored double digits in a game for the 12th time this season. Junior center Shege Haxhaj (Lyndhurst, N.J./Lyndhurst) scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds with a pair of blocks while freshman guard Iyannah Moore (Newark, N.J./University) added eight points and seven rebounds.
In Wednesday's victory, 12 Montclair State players saw at least 14 minutes and each scored, had a rebound and an assist. Sophomore guard Kiarra Dillard led the Red Hawks with a game and career-high 18 points (4-7 FG, 8-1 FT), eight rebounds and three assists in 24 reserve minutes. She was one of four MSU players in double figures for a squad that had 24 assists on 32 made baskets.
Junior forward Yazmine Lacey (7-12 FG) and junior guard/forward Katie Sire (6-10 FG) each collected 14 points and five boards in 15 and 22 minutes, respectively. Junior guard Erica Snow made all 12 of her points from three-point range (4-7 3FG) in 18 minutes on the court. Junior forward Taylor Harmon dished out six of the team's 24 assists and added five points and three steals. In 16 minutes, senior guard Rachael Krauss grabbed six boards.
- 62nd meeting. Montclair State leads all-time series, 59-3 and has won the last 28 meetings since February 13, 2002.
- Montclair State ranked No. 1 in NCAA Atlantic Region, No. 17 nationally by D3hoops.com and No. 17 in USA Today/WBCA Division III poll.
- Kiana Briggs last scored 16 points in a game against The College of New Jersey on February 7, 2015.
- Briggs scored double digits in a game for the 12th time this season and seventh time in the last eight games. She has scored in double figures 41 times in 93 career games and has scored 784 points.
- Briggs' previous career-high for rebounds in a game was nine. She accomplished this against Ramapo on January 22, 2014 and Kean on February 1, 2014.
- Shege Haxhaj had her sixth double-digit scoring effort this season.
NJCU travels to Ramapo on Saturday, February 11 with the NJAC game scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Ramapo won the previous meeting this season, 51-38, in Jersey City on January 14. The Roadrunners lead the all-time series, 40-28. It will be the 69th meeting between the programs.