NEWARK, N.J. (NJCUGothicKnights.com) | Once again, the New Jersey City University women's basketball team went on the road and challenged a top tier conference opponent, falling just short in an upset bid. Just a week after falling by seven against first place Rowan, the Gothic Knights held their own against second place Rutgers-Newark (12-7, 9-3 NJAC) on January 26, falling by a final score of 56-51 at the Golden Dome.
The Knights (4-16, 1-12 NJAC) came out slow, and as a result, they found themselves in a hole early, trailing 14-5 after the first quarter. However, NJCU won every quarter after that, tying the game at 40-40 late in the third quarter, but could not pull ahead and played behind throughout a tight fourth quarter.
The story for the Knights was the continued emergence of Zyearah Taylor-Gaston (Jersey City, NJ/Marist (via St. Anthony)). The freshman wing scored in double figures just twice in her first 17 games at NJCU, but she has reached that total each of the last three games, culminating with a career-high 16 points in Saturday's loss. Taylor-Gaston did so quite efficiently once again, doing so on 5-of-11 from the field and 5-of-6 from the line. She added eight rebounds, four assists, and two blocks for easily the best performance of her collegiate career.
Senior point guard Marajiah Bacon (Neptune, NJ/Neptune) still managed to lead the team in points with 17, but it was a bit of a quieter game for the nation's No. 3 ranked scorer who was also tasked with slowing down potential All-Conference selection, senior Faith Ashby (Teaneck, N.J.), who ranks second in the conference in scoring, third in assists, and 12th in rebounding. Bacon had six rebounds and five steals to add to her 17 points (7-16 FG).
It was a defensive battle all game, with the first quarter coming up especially dry for NJCU. A pair of Taylor-Gaston free throws opened the scoring in the first minute, but then neither team would score again until the 6:33 mark. The Raiders were able to recover late in the quarter, but the Knights had separate droughts of 4:25 and 5:51—bleeding into the second quarter—that put them in a hole they could never quite dig out of.
For most of the second quarter, Newark kept NJCU at arm's length, but a four-plus minute drought of Newark's own allowed NJCU to creep back into the game, down single digits going into the break (26-18).
In the third, the Knights made their move—more of a slow grind—as the Raiders once again went scoreless for over three minutes, while the Knights cut the lead from eight (39-31, 4:59 left) all the way down to one (39-38, 2:54). The Knights were helped out by a tremendous team effort on the boards, as they were able to collect 13 offensive rebounds, many of which set up excellent second-chance looks.
At the 1:10 mark left in the third, a jumper by senior guard Jesenia Montalvo (Hillside, NJ/Bayonne) tied the game up at 40-40—the first tie of the game since it was 5-5 in the first quarter. Newark responded immediately, however, with a 6-0 run to end the quarter, establishing a lead they would not again relinquish. The Knights battled down the stretch, but once again a lengthy drought (4:45) cost them any chance of tying the game up, or retaking a late lead. As a result, the Raiders picked up their ninth conference win of the season.
The Ashby sisters (Faith and Hannah) were once again the key to success for Newark, as Faith tallied 20 points, nine rebounds, and three assists, while Hannah scored 15 points, pulled down 11 boards, and had a pair of steals. The two combined for over 62 percent of the Raider offense on the night.
This was the fourth NJAC opponent whom NJCU has faced for a second time in 2018-19, and in all four games, the Knights have seen their margin of defeat shrink in the second matchup: Kean (31 to five), Rowan (19 to seven), William Paterson (38 to 12), and Rutgers-Newark (16 to five).
- Series: 75th meeting, Rutgers-Newark leads 54-21 and has now won the last 18 meetings.
- Marajiah Bacon (Neptune, NJ/Neptune) now has 2,094 career points, 38th in Division III history. Full list: http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/stats/w_basketball_RB/2019/D3.pdf
- Marajiah Bacon (Neptune, NJ/Neptune) saw her scoring average drop to 25.4 points per game. She still leads the NJAC in scoring but will likely drop to fourth in the country in points per game. Her five steals keep her average at 4.7 steals per game on the season, where she ranks third in the country.
- Zyearah Taylor-Gaston (Jersey City, NJ/Marist (via St. Anthony)) had her fifth career double-digit scoring effort.
- Marajiah Bacon (Neptune, NJ/Neptune) has now scored in double figures 87 times in 88 career games between Kean (2015-18, 67 times in 68 games) and NJCU (20 times in 20 games). Other updated career totals for Bacon:
- 20-Point Games: 60 (44 at Kean, 16 at NJCU)
- 25-Point Games: 41 (30 at Kean, 11 at NJCU)
- 30-Point Games: 21 (16 at Kean, five at NJCU)
- 35-Point Games: 10 (eight at Kean, two at NJCU)
- 40-Point Games: 5 (four at Kean; career high, 46 at NJCU)
- Marajiah Bacon (Neptune, NJ/Neptune) now needs 114 points over the final five games of the season to surpass Monique Hemingway's record of 620 points in 24 games in 1988-89. She would need to average 22.8 per game the rest of the year to reach the mark.
- Marajiah Bacon (Neptune, NJ/Neptune) is chasing multiple single-season NJCU records. Here are all updates through game 19 of the 2018-19 season.
1. 620 Monique Hemingway (24 games) - 1988-89
2. 507 Marajiah Bacon (Neptune, NJ/Neptune) (18 games) - 2018-19
3. 462 Chris Mosca (22 games) - 1980-81
4. 461 Doris Nicholson (27 games) - 1988-89
5. 443 Tara Mitchell (23 games) - 1997-98
Scoring average (minimum 10 games)
1. 25.8 Monique Hemingway (24 games) 1988-89
2. 25.4 Marajiah Bacon (Neptune, NJ/Neptune) (18 games) 2018-19
3. 21.0 Chris Mosca (22 games) 1980-81
4. 20.7 Patrice Hurt (13 games) 1984-85
5. 19.3 Tara Mitchell (23 games) 1997-98
Field goals made
1. 241 Monique Hemingway (24 games) - 1988-89
2. 205 Doris Nicholson (27 games) - 1988-89
3. 184 Marajiah Bacon (Neptune, NJ/Neptune) (18 games) - 2018-19
4. 173 Doris Nicholson (22 games) - 1987-88
5. 172 Tara Mitchell (23 games) - 1997-98
Field goals attempted
1. 510 Marajiah Bacon (Neptune, NJ/Neptune) (18 games) - 2018-19
2. 477 Monique Hemingway (24 games) - 1988-89
3. 430 Tara Mitchell (23 games) - 1997-98
4. 404 Lashawn Overton (22 games) - 2008-09
5. 403 Ebony Cunningham (23 games) - 2009-10
Free throws made
1. 154 Chris Mosca (22 games) - 1980-81
2. 138 Monique Hemingway (24 games) - 1988-89
3. 135 Bria Smith (25 games) - 2014-15
4. 102 Marajiah Bacon (Neptune, NJ/Neptune) (18 games) - 2018-19
5. 99 Tara Mitchell (23 games) - 1997-98
Steals average (minimum 10 games)
1. 5.4 Latrese McNair (27 games) 2004-05
2. 5.1 Latrese McNair (24 games) 2005-06
3. 4.7 Marajiah Bacon (Neptune, NJ/Neptune) (18 games) 2018-19
4. 4.4 Latrese McNair (25 games) 2006-07
5. 4.0 Monique Hemingway (21 games) 1984-85
- The Knights host another top NJAC opponent, Montclair State (12-7, 8-4 NJAC) on Wednesday, January 30 at 6:00 p.m. at the John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center (Coach Charlie Brown Court). MSU is the six-time defending New Jersey Athletic Conference champion (2013-18).
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