MADISON, N.J. -- FDU-Florham is semfinal bound after overcoming a six-point halftime deficit to defeat Montclair State 73-53 on Saturday night at the Ferguson Recreation Center.
Freedom Conference Player of the Year, Kyra Dayon paced the Devils attack with a game-high 22 points in the win, while sophomore forward Shalette Brown was dominant , totaling 17 points and 17 rebounds for her 10th double-double of the season as the Devils advanced to their first semifinal appearance.
In front of a capacity crowd on Friday night, the two New Jersey schools faced off in a contest that did not disappoint. Montclair State freshman Sage Bennett opened the scoring with a layup, which was promptly countered by a layup from Dayon. The first half was a neck-and-neck battle, which featured five ties and six lead changes. With the game knotted at 19-19, the Red Hawks closed the half with an 11-5 run and claimed a 30-24 lead at the break.
Dayon led all scorers at the half with 10 points, while junior forward Melissa Tobie topped the Red Hawks with nine points in the first stanza. FDU-Florham shot 26.9 percent over the first 20 minutes of action, including 0-for-5 from downtown, however, the Devils took advantage at the free throw line by converting 10 of their 14 attempts from the stripe.
The Devils calling card this season has been the second half outburst and tonight was no different. FDU-Florham quickly erased the six-point halftime deficit and evened the score at 33-33. Propelled by their relentless defense, the Devils put together a 19-3 run during an 8:24 span to stake a 50-36 lead. Over the course of the run, Dayon tallied eight points, while senior point guard Jalessa Lewis added seven tallies and the Devils forced the Red Hawks into four turnovers. The decisive-run changed the course of the game and FDU-Florham refused to relinquish control.
The home team preserved their double-digit lead during the game's final eight minutes to advance to the semi-finals in Wisconsin. FDU-Florham outscored Montclair State 49-23 and limited the Red Hawks to just 36.4 percent shooting in the decisive second half
Junior guard Janitza Aquino led the Red Hawks with 11 points, while Tobie filled up the stat sheet with 10 points, 12 rebounds, five blocks and five steals in defeat.