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Montclair State record at 9-2 after winning 7 of 8

Despite a six game winning streak snapped and scoring just 42 points in a loss at TCNJ (The College of New Jersey) the Montclair State Red Hawks managed to bounce back with two wins in a row improving their record to 9-2 on the year. The Red Hawks are 5-1 and tied with Rowan for second place in the NJAC (New Jersey Athletic Conference) and one game behind TCNJ in the standings.

Last Wednesday at Rutgers-Newark, Montclair State trailed the Scarlet Raiders by as many as 15 points in the third quarter but due to the sensational play of freshman guard Julia Sutton scoring 13 of her game high 21 points in the second half on 6 of 9 shooting including knocking down four trifecta’s and draining five three throws the Red Hawks outscored Rutgers-Newark 34-27 for the 56-52 comeback win. Alex McKinnon chipped in with 12 points.

Head Coach Karin Harvey on the victory, “A great comeback, we played okay defensively in the first half but couldn’t find a way to score and then in the second half we were down a quick 10 in a blink of an eye. We kept working with rotation and found one that worked with a young team and some nights are going to be different.”

“Julia came in and really stepped up, she is a tough kid and got a little of a moxie and a really great job and proud of her. A big step for us, we relaxed and played better basketball. When we look back this could be a pretty critical game for us. We stopped worrying about being perfect, making mistakes and realized we could do a lot of things but as long as we played hard and as a team.”

Montclair State did not have much rest before their next game having to travel to Brooklyn College on Friday night. Leading 25-17 at halftime, the Red Hawks broke the game wide open in the third quarter outscoring the Bulldogs 22-13. There was no stepping off the gas pedal in the fourth quarter as Montclair State coasted to the 67-50 win. Senior forward Domonique Wirsing tallied a double-double scoring 17 points and grabbing 14 rebounds while Taylor Brown added 16 points and eight rebounds.

“It was a great week for us and way to end the semester in our mind,” said Harvey. “Always tough with finals but we did a good job and starting to get better step-by-step and really proud of the week we put in. They needed to focus on their academics, a lot going on for them and to able to get on the bus and tale a ride to Brooklyn and get there and focus. Our focus of the program has been defensive minded and where we stand always. The big piece of it is communication and understanding how to play together.”

“One of the more complete games we have played and with this team a couple of different players every night. In the big picture that’s going to make us better and tougher and not just one player.”

“Domonique is a kid who works hard every single day and she is coming into her own. Her senior year, a great mentor of our program for four years and does everything right. When something clicks for your only senior and captain and have a performance like that everyone in our program couldn’t be happier for her. The game was really easy for her on Friday and looked effortless. It was exciting, she did things I have never seen her do before in a 40 minute game. Rebounded the heck out of the ball, defended and on the offensive end by turning and splitting through defenders.”

Next up for the Red Hawks is participating in the St. Petersburg Classic in St. Petersburg, Florida starting on Wednesday December 19th taking on  Wisconsin Lutheran College (7-0) at 3:00 p.m. On Thursday December 20th a match-up against Albright College (4-7) with tip-off set for 1:00 p.m.

“We got a pretty tough schedule, Wisconsin Lutheran (7-0) undefeated and a really good basketball team and not a team we played before so it’s new to us,” Harvey said. “The second day we play Albright College and very familiar with their basketball program and a phenomenal coach (Janice Luck).”

“We still want to enjoy the trip and hopefully have a good tournament down there and spend time with families and celebrate the holidays. We will get back at in the New Year and starting thinking about the conference.”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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