Lady Hawks Soar in Season Finale

Lady Hawks Soar in Season Finale

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.- Senior guard Alysha Womack keyed a second half comeback that propelled Monmouth past Mount St. Mary’s 71-63 in their season finale at the Multipurpose Activity Center.
The Hawks were able to overcome a 9 point deficit in the second half behind Womack’s 17 points, setting up a rematch with Mount St. Mary’s Sunday in the first round of the Northeast Conference Tournament. “It was a huge win. Now our reward is that we get to play them again,” head coach Jenny Palmateer said following the comeback.
Monmouth dug themselves into a hole early, shooting an abysmal 34 percent from the field in the first half. Mount St. Mary’s, on the other hand, shot 57 percent helping them gain a four point halftime advantage. The Mountaineers then proceeded to start the second half on a 7-2 scoring run extending their lead to a game high 9 points. Womack, the Hawks leading scorer, was a non-factor throughout the first 20 minutes scoring only 2 points. Nevertheless, she picked it up with 15 second half points, including two free throws to put the Hawks ahead for good with 3:15 remaining. “The great players always figure it out,” Palmateer said.
Senior Carly Thibault began the Hawks comeback late in the second half with a pair of 3-point shots, cutting the lead to 50-48. Mount St. Mary’s did not seem rattled, as redshirt junior Sydney Henderson completed a 3-point play to retake the lead 57-55 with 4:53 to go. Unfortunately for the Mount, the home crowd at the MAC proved too much for them to handle, as Womack sank her foul shots down the stretch to seal the deal. “The energy in the building was louder than I’ve heard it all season, sophomore student Ryan Hawke said. The men have not had a successful season so it’s great to see the fans come out and support the women in their final game.”
This outcome avenged a previous 70-51 loss to Mount St. Mary’s earlier in the season in which the Hawks were shorthanded. “I was hurt that game, Womack said. We couldn’t really get anything going. Tonight our points down low from Sara English really helped.”
Meanwhile, Monmouth needed all the points they could get to help offset senior Sellna Mann’s 20 point performance for the Mountaineers. Mann routinely penetrated the Hawks defense for easy layups, and was able to draw the defense inside enabling the Mount to shoot open shots from the perimeter. A defensive scheme to stop Mann will be the main priority heading into Sunday’s rematch. “We have six days to figure that out, Womack said. I do know that we will not allow her to get to the basket as easily next game.”
Stopping Mann will be the first step if the Lady Hawks want to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive. In order to receive the automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament, Monmouth will need to defeat the Mountaineers at home, and then likely opponents Sacred Heart and Quinnipiac on the road. “Our focus is on the task at hand, Palmateer said. We need to approach each game one at a time and not think ahead.”
The Hawks fortunately have the privilege of playing their first conference tournament game at home; something that players and fans consider a critical advantage. Monmouth boasts a 7-2 record when playing at home this season against conference opponents. “We love our fans and appreciate the support they have given us throughout the season, Womack said. I know the place will be rocking Sunday. My teammates and I feel more confident playing at home knowing we have the crowd behind us.”

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