Rodriguez Breaks School Scoring Record as MSU drops 4th straight

Written by on January 20, 2024

By: Justin Randell – 

The Montclair State Red Hawks women’s basketball team hit the road for a game last night as they visited the Gothic Knights of New Jersey City University for a New Jersey Athletic Conference matchup on a cold and snowy Wednesday night.  It was a packed house at John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center with Montclair, coming in with a 6-10 overall record and 3-6 in the conference, looking to snap a 3 game skid. They were handed losses against Stockton, Rowan, and Kean. For NJCU, they were 8-6 overall and 6-3 in the conference before the start and looking to bounce back from their loss last game to Stockton, 64-56. The Red Hawks knew coming in they would have their hands full guarding NJCU’s top playmaker and scorer, senior guard Damaris Rodriguez who was closing in on becoming the school’s all time leading scorer. The last time these two teams met, Rodriguez put up a monstrous statline, scoring 18 points along with 9 rebounds and 8 assists while playing the entire game. For the Gothic Knights they had to face one of Montclair’s top scoring options in sophomore forward, Isabella Orlando. Orlando had a rough outing last time she faced NJCU only putting up 2 points with 3 rebounds and 1 turnover in 16 minutes. She was determined to bounce back from her previous performance. Right from the opening tip-off, it was a tough and physical battle between these two rivals. In the final 2 minutes of the first quarter, the fans had something to cheer about early on as Damaris Rodriguez broke NJCU’s all time scoring record with 1,675 points in her 4 year career.  In the opening portion of the 2nd quarter, the Red Hawks were struggling to break the full court press Pat Devaney Sr., the NJCU head coach loves to enforce throughout the majority of their games, causing multiple turnovers leading to easy fast break points. Montclair was down as many as 12 points midway through the 2nd, but as the quarter went on the Red Hawks were able to claw back into the game and trailed 37-29 at the half. To start the second half, Montclair came out flying as they went on a 7-0 run in the first 2 minutes led by Shannon Hughes and Brianna Montajes to cut the lead to 37-36. However, as the 3rd quarter went on, the Red Hawks went cold from the field and turned the ball over on multiple possessions as NJCU countered with a 19-2 run of their own and increased their lead yet again, going up 56-38 with 2:16 to go. The drought ended with a Teresa Wolak layup. As Montclair has done all year long, they never gave up being down a large amount. They gave everything they had left to try to make a large comeback. The Red Hawks started the quarter scoring 4 straight points to make things interesting, but NJCU had an answer every time Montclair tried to cut into the lead. NJCU went on to win the game 71-56. Montclair fell to 6-10 on the season and 3-7 in the NJAC. The Gothic Knights improved to 9-6 and 7-3 in the NJAC. Demaris Rodriguez led the way for the Gothic Knights with 21 points, 5 rebounds, 10 assists, and 8 steals. For the Red Hawks, Isabella Orlando led the team with 13 points and 3 rebounds. Next up, MSUWB will take on Rutgers-Camden at home on Saturday, January 20 at 3:00pm.