WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ – In a tightly contested battle, as both teams opened their seasons, Monmouth would eke out a 69-64 victory over the visiting Sacred Heart women's basketball team, Friday evening at The Oceanbank First Center.
The game underwent 14 ties and 13 lead changes in the back and forth affair before the hosts opened up their largest lead of the evening, up eight with 33 seconds left to play. A Kayla Shaw three, gave the Hawks a four-point lead, 60-56 with almost 1:30 left to play. From there, empty possessions haunted the Pioneers and Monmouth continued to capitalize. The eight-point advantage came on the tail end of a 7-0 run as Monmouth benefitted twice from Shaw at the line. Tykera Carter and Katherine Haines secured three-pointers in an attempt to keep Sacred Heart in the game but Monmouth continued to punish the visitors at the line hitting seven of their eight tries until time expired.
Candice Leatherwood led the way offensively for the Pioneers making eight of her 15 attempts for a team-leading 19 points including two makes from downtown. Carter (16), Erin Storck (14) and Haines (11) also amassed double-figure point totals. Haines' also tallied 13 rebounds including three on the offensive glass to round out her double-double. Jenna Silletti and Jayla Davis each added two points. Olivia Dabney, Leatherwood and Storck registered three dimes each.
Shaw spearheaded the Monmouth offense sinking four triples for a game-high 22 points. Rhaiah Spooner-Knight helped with 11 points and three rebounds. Alaina Jarnot and McKinzee Barker chipped in with eight points each, while Jarnot also registered six boards. Shaw came up with three steals.
Sacred Heart – 0-1
Monmouth – 1-0
First Quarter: SHU, 18-14
- Carter drained one from deep to open the scoring on the evening, 3-0.
- Storck made her way into the paint on back-to-back possessions making it 9-all with 13:58 pictured on the clock.
- Haines hit the fade-away down low on the insert pass from Carter to put the Pioneers back up a couple, 11-9. Leatherwood would go on to score her first bucket in a Pioneers' uniform making it a four-point game (2:25).
- Crafty on the defensive end, Leatherwood forced the Hawks' turnover and cashed in on the other end to settle the score after one quarter of play, 18-14.
Second Quarter: SHU, 29-26
- Monmouth credited an 8-1 run, scoring eight uninterrupted points, to commence the second period. During the spurt, the Pioneers committed three turnovers while the Hawks, Shaw and Jarnot, netted two from beyond the arc, 22-19 (7:20).
- Carter banked in the soft long ball to fill in SHU's gap, 22-up. Leatherwood would hit a basket on the following Pioneers possession granting them the lead, 24-22 (5:38).
- Haines muscled her way under the hoop, scooping in a basket with just six ticks before the break for the 29-26 halftime score favoring the visitors.
Third Quarter: Tie, 42-42
- Storck drove baseline and laid it in to get the second half of play rolling, 31-26 (9:29).
- Carter split the defense right through the middle finishing with the easy two, 33-30 (7:04).
- Balman scored a layup before Shaw coasted to the cup putting the Hawks ahead by a slight margin, 34-33 (5:50).
- Spooner-Knight knocked down a three from the right wing deadlocking the score at 36 apiece with 3:05 to play.
- Leatherwood pulled up for two before Jarnot sank another trey allowing Monmouth a one-point advantage, 39-38 (2:05).
- Momentous, Shaw sank another shot from far, her third on the evening, with 40 ticks pictured continuing Monmouth's lead, 42-40.
- Following a few quick empty possessions by each team, Leatherwood raced the floor netting a wild basket to even things up at the end of the third, 42-42.
- Davis tabbed her first collegiate basket putting Sacred Heart back in front, 44-42 (9:04).
- Despite the tightly contested game, Monmouth began to show signs of an advantage getting up by three twice on the brinks of a jumper by Barker, 55-52 (3:58).
- Shaw got to the hoop opening up a five-point lead partial to Monmouth, 57-52 (3:30).
- Spooner-Knight bullied her way into the paint committing the charge and a Carter put-back would see the Pioneers down by one, 57-56 (2:03).
- Storck missed crucial tries at the charity stripe keeping Monmouth ahead, 60-56 (1:17).
- Against the clock, Pioneers foul twice putting the Hawks in the bonus. Spooner-Knight hit both attempts at the line, 62-56 (55 secs.).
- A long-three attempt by Leatherwood left unlucky forced the Pioneers to put the Hawks on the line. Shaw would register two makes for the 64-56 late advantage (33 secs.).
- Carter saw her three all net before Graham went 2-for-2 at the line, 66-59 (25 secs.).
- From three-point territory, Haines put up a shot that would make it a two-possession game, 66-62 (22 secs.).
- Graham split at the charity stripe and Haines would hit the put-back off a missed Leatherwood three, before the Hawks called for time, 67-64 (10 secs.).
- Spooner-Knight would finish the evening's final making both tries at the line.
The Pioneers take to Coach Bike Court for the first time this season welcoming Manhattan. Tip-off begins at 6:00 pm.