GWYNEDD VALLEY, Pa. – Two Sea Gulls scored career-high points against Montclair State University as the Salisbury University women's basketball team fell to Montclair State University, 79-53, in the Sea Gulls' season opener at the Gwynedd-Mercy College Tip-Off Tournament.
The Red Hawks (1-0) scored the first bucket of the contest, but Salisbury tied the game at two apiece as senior forward Katie McGahagan put in a layup.
Salisbury (0-1) went on a seven-point run, including a three-pointer from sophomore guard Courtney McManus, her first of four in the half, to go up 9-2.
Montclair State went on a six-point scoring run of its own to close the margin to 9-8 with 15:16 remaining in the half before McManus drained another three to push SU's edge to 12-8. The Red Hawks would close the gap and Nicosia Henry would tie the contest, 12-12.
The two teams would be tied one last time in the half, at 14 each, before Montclair State climbed to a 20-14 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the half. The Red Hawks would push their largest scoring lead of the half to 17, taking advantage of a number of Sea Gull turnovers, finding themselves down 36-19 with five minutes left in the half.
But Salisbury would turn the tables in the final five minutes of the period as the Sea Gulls would force five Red Hawk turnovers, closing the half on a 9-4 run, including six points from sophomore point guard Anna Hackett and three from McManus who went 4-for-6 for threes in the half.
McManus scored 12 points in the opening half, on her way to a career-high 17 points in the game.
SU started off slow in the second half as the Red Hawks went up 62-32 in the first 10 minutes of action in the final period.
Hackett turned the heat up for SU, sinking her first three of the contest, before adding four additional points to bring the score to 64-39. Two free throws by Taylor Jeffers and a layup by Janitza Aquino increased the Red Hawks' lead to 27 before SU went on a four-point run.
A block by junior forward Becca Himes resulted in an easy layup for freshman forward Julia McLaughlin. McLaughlin made the defensive rebound on the next Montclair possession, as Hackett dribbled down the court, drawing a foul. The sophomore made both free throws and then put up two on a jumper from sophomore guard Maggie King to bring the score to 68-45.
The Sea Gulls held Montclair State scoreless for the next four minutes, chipping away at the deficit, closing the gap 68-51. But the late push was not enough.
Hackett paced SU with 24 points, a career-high, to go with six assists while McManus was 5-of-11 from beyond the three-point line.
McLaughlin scored her first points as a Sea Gull and pulled down six rebounds while sophomore forward Aleisha Hobbs made her first two blocks in a maroon and gold jersey and King finished with five assists.
Montclair was led by Melissa Toble with 14 points and Janitza Aquino with 13 points and three assists.
SU will play at noon tomorrow in the consolation game against either Gwydedd-Mercy College or Penn State University-Abington.