Jersey City, NJ - Saint Peter’s women rebounded in a big way from a loss at Iona two days earlier. The Peacocks avenged an earlier loss to Monmouth with a 78-66 victory at Run Baby Run Arena on Tuesday. Saint Peter’s (11-14) is now 8-8 in MAAC play. Monmouth (13-12) shows an identical 8-8 in conference play.
Heading into the game a priority for Saint Peter’s was to limit, preferably eliminate, turnovers. In the early going it was evident closing out on perimeter shooters was just as vital as Monmouth drilled two early open looks.
Monmouth had to be concerned with Kassondra Brown-a terrific rebounder and inside/out threat. Monmouth coach Ginny Boggess frequently substituted, keeping fresh bodies on Brown in the low post.
Saint Peter’s had second chance opportunities. Marc Mitchell’s club missed several and was ahead at the half by only a 6-5 count in second chance points.
Monmouth established the perimeter threat shooting 50% (5 of 10) from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes.
Monmouth led 39-35 at the break. In a decidedly fast paced game (40 first half possessions) Monmouth held a 98-88 edge in offensive efficiency. Rebounding, a Monmouth concern saw the Hawks with a 20-19 advantage. Turnovers, the Saint Peter’s emphasis showed the Peacocks guilty of eight compared to 11 by Monmouth.
Saint Peter’s ‘won’ the first four minutes of the third period to move ahead by a 44-43 count. That was significant as Saint Peter’s coach Marc Mitchell emphasized to his team during intermission how Monmouth used a strong third period as an impetus to gaining the overtime victory in the first meeting. The latter part of the third period Saint Peter’s defense started to take over. They were disruptive, pressured, got deflections and steals. In two consecutive possessions they forced a turnover in the Monmouth backcourt, resulting in run-out layups and an eight point lead. For the period, the Hawks committed seven turnovers.
"Our players bought into it (defense) tonight," Mitchell said. "They hadn’t at times recently but tonight we got back to who we are,"
Heading into the final ten minutes, Saint Peter’s held a 55-47 lead. Monmouth found the shooting touch and stayed close. Four minutes to go Saint Peter’s showed a two possession lead. The lead would grow to ten points with under two to go. At that juncture, for Saint Peter’s, it was a case of going to the line and hitting your free throws. Saint Peter’s did to seal the decision.
On the night Saint Peter’s was paced by their own ‘dynamic duo’. Kendrea Williams scored a game-high 30 points. Brown recorded a double-double with 22 points. "I’ll take those two with me into any battle, any war," Mitchell said. "Monmouth mentor Ginny Boggess added, "they (Saint Peter’s) have an elite scorer (Williams) on the perimeter and an anchor (Brown) down low."
Ariana Vanderhoop led Monmouth with 14 points, Lucy Thomas added 11. Monmouth won the rebounding battle 40-36. Saint Peter’s committed 13 turnovers while forcing the Hawks into 21 miscues. Monmouth shot 39%, including 40% from three. Saint Peter’s finished 41% and 38% from long distance. Peacocks also enjoyed a 32-22 edge in points in the paint.
Tempo Free numbers:
Possessions: 75- an above average pace. As Boggess said, "we like to push the ball but Saint Peter’s (defense)
sped us up."
Offensive efficiency: Saint Peter’s 104, Monmouth 88- excellent numbers by the host Peacocks on the offensive and defensive sides.
TO rate: Saint Peter’s 17, Monmouth 28. You want your TO rate to be under 20% on offense. The numbers revealed how the Peacocks cared for the ball while forcing errors on the defensive end.
Monmouth visits Fairfield on Thursday. The same night Saint Peter’s plays host to a solid Niagara contingent. "They (Niagara) press probably the best of any team in the conference," Mitchell praised. " We have to be ready and we will." In the one game at a time approach Mitchell still has an eye on the big picture. "I tell my team you were picked eighth in the pre-season (MAAC) poll. Eighth. That’s what they think of you. Now what are you going to do about it ?"
On this night they earned a big win and sent a message. As Boggess said, "Trust me, I don’t think anyone wants to see them (Saint Peter’s) come MAAC Tournament time."