EMMITSBURG, Md. – Tara Lonergan (Rockville Centre, N.Y./South Side) scored a career-high 14 points to help Mount St. Mary's down Monmouth 70-51 in Northeast Conference (NEC) women's basketball action on Saturday.
Lonergan connected on all six shots from the floor and also made two free throws to end with 14 points. She also added three rebounds and an assist in 24 minutes off the bench. Lonergan celebrated her birthday in grand fashion to help the Mount (5-7, 1-0 NEC) open up league play 1-0 for the second-straight season and for the 16th time in program history.
Sydney Henderson (Richmond, Va./Atlee) paced the Mountaineers with 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Jacqueline Brewer (Martinsburg, W. Va./Martinsburg) and Kayla Grossett (Toronto, Ontario/David and Mary Thomson C.I.) each added nine points and five rebounds in the winning effort.
Mount St. Mary's shot 51.9 percent from the floor for the game after making 27 of 52 shots on the afternoon. The squad went 17 of 26 from the field in the second half to finish with a 65.4 percentage in the stanza. The Mount shot over 50 percent in a game for the first time since hitting 50.9 percent against Quinnipiac on Jan. 30, 2010.
Chevannah Paalvast paced the Hawks (3-9, 0-1 NEC) with 18 points. Carly Thibault added 15 points while the team was playing without its leading scorer Alyssa Womack, who leads the team with 16.3 points per game.
Mount St. Mary's took the lead from the opening tip and never looked back end a three-game losing streak and start the conference slate 1-0 against a team that advanced to the NEC Championship Game in the last two seasons.
The Mount jumped out to a 9-3 lead in the first six minutes of the game. Brewer got things started with a triple at 17:19 before Rachel Mathews (Richmond, Va./Midlothian) scored in the paint at 18 seconds later for a 5-0 lead. After Thibault nailed a trey at 16:10, Brewer hit a jumper at 15:45 and Selina Mann (Gainesville, Va./Battlefield) converted two free throws at 14:30 for a 9-3 lead.
Abigail Martin answered with a jumper at 11:55 and Adrianna Allen nailed a 3-pointer with 10:41 left in the first half to make it a one-point game.
The Mountaineers then went on a 7-0 run thanks to five points from Henderson and two from Grossett to give the Mount a 16-8 lead with 7:58 left in the stanza.
Monmouth then used a 9-2 run to trim it to one point once again with 3:39 left in the first half. Paalvast powered the spurt with seven points.
Mount St. Mary's closed the half on a 12-4 spurt to take a 30-22 lead going into the locker room. Two key 3-pointers occurred during the run. Ashley Christie (Dayton, Ohio/Archbishop Alter), who is playing in her third game after missing the first nine games due to injury, drained a 3-pointer with 3:17 on the clock to halt the Hawks run for her first points of the season. Christie ranked third last season with 8.0 points per game. Brewer then nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Mountaineers an eight-point edge at the break. It was the second time this season the Mount had drained a trey at the halftime buzzer.
Mount St. Mary's opened the second half on a 19-10 run to grab a 49-33 advantage midway through the second half. Lonergan had six points to power the run and Jessie Kaufman (Damascus, Md./Damascus) added five points in the stretch.
The Mount also used a 17-5 run to extend its lead to 26 points in the final three minutes of the contest. Grossett had five points and the birthday girl added four points in that run to help the Mountaineers cruise to a 70-51 victory.
Mathews finished the game with six points and seven rebounds while Christie posted five points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals in 17 minutes.
Mount St. Mary's has now won three-straight games against Monmouth at Knott Arena. The game marked the final NEC regular season game at Knott Arena between the two teams with the Hawks slated to join the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference next season.
The Mount looks to start the season 2-0 for the second-straight season when Fairleigh Dickinson comes to town on Monday. It will be a first-place showdown after the Knights downed Wagner 68-59 on Saturday. Tipoff is 7 p.m.