(Photo by Michael Franco - JSN)

Red Hawks Women's Basketball Battle Albright in Mike Scala Memorial Classic Finale

After losing to Ursinus College on Day One of the Mike Scala Memorial Classic, the Red Hawks defeated Albright College 84-71 on Sunday at Panzer Athletic Center.

The hosts went into the finale of the tournament dedicated to the memory of Montclair State's former Director of Sports Publicity, Mike Scala, with heavy hearts for two reasons: Brianna Montajes said that she and her teammates were "playing for" Scala and his family in this tournament that took place on their home court but also for Megan Duffy.

Duffy, a senior, was leading Montclair State women's basketball in points-per-game before she suffered an injury that forced her to leave her team's first game of the Memorial Classic. Going into game two, Head Coach Karin Harvey's Red Hawks knew they had to avoid finishing the classic, winless.

Inside the Action at Panzer

The first quarter was neck-and-neck until 4:19 when Montclair State's offense came alive. Three pointers in succession from Red Hawks Alexis Strollo, Shannon Hughes and Megan Cavoli led to the hosts finishing the quarter on a 12-2 run.

Montclair State continued their momentum into the 2nd quarter, draining threes and playing strong defense which kept Albright from getting a foothold. After Genevieve Fara sunk a 3-point shot to open up a double-digit lead for Red Hawks, 

Throughout the third quarter, the Red Hawks would continue to spread their wings and their lead. After Kendall Hodges scored on a lay-up at 7:44, the Red Hawks had produced their biggest lead of the day 48-31. However, the visitors didn't quit and by the end had narrowed it to 58-49.

This special contest at the PAC became very interesting just two minutes inside the fourth quarter. During this stretch, Albright held the hosts to just one point and shot 3-3 from the field and that cut their deficit down to four. With the score at 59-55, Montclair State had to fend off Albright between minutes 7:00-2:00 because they only were leading by four-six points. 

With 2:27 remaining, Red Hawk point guard Kendall Hodges scored a lay-up on one possession before being fouled on the next. She sank both free throws, opening up a 77-68 lead and it was all over for Albright.

Montclair State held on to win by 13 points because of consistent scoring which they lacked in their previous game against Ursinus.

The key contributors for the Red Hawks were all over the lineup. Hodges gave a season-high 15 points, while Hughes added 14. Montajes was right behind her teammates with 13 points-- a career high for the junior guard. This win was a total team effort for head coach Karin Harvey's MSU Women because ten of her players scored a point in this game, equating to 34 points off the bench.

"We have faced adversity all season. Just when I think we can't play more like a team, they take it to another level. Very proud of their efforts on both ends of the court this weekend. - MSU WBB head coach Karin Harvey

After the Scala Memorial Classic that were the Red Hawks first games following the school holiday break, they will face NJAC rival Stockton on Jan. 6 at the Panzer Athletic Center. With their record at 6-7 on the season, winning conference games is of premium importance to the Montclair State women's basketball team going forward.

Anthony Paradiso
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