Epic Fourth Quarter Gives Monroe Mustangs Women’s Basketball Comeback Victory over Villa Maria
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y., February 6, 2022 – Facing a 14-point deficit early in the fourth quarter, the Monroe College Mustangs women's basketball team battled all the way back against Villa Maria College on Sunday, with Daja Wentz's pair of free throws just before the buzzer clinching a 74-72 victory for the Mustangs at the Monroe Athletic Complex. Monroe improves to 12-12 overall with the win, while the Vikings drop to 12-8.
The Vikings opened the fourth with a pair of free throws by Chmicka Kennedy, but the Mustangs responded with six straight points to make it an eight-point game with 7:45 on the clock. After a jumper by Villa Maria's Danyea Barclay, the Mustangs scored another seven straight, making it a three-point game as the Vikings took a timeout with 6:26 to play in regulation. The run continued for the Mustangs with a layup by Naomi Barnwell and four straight by Sara Carvajal-Caro, giving the Mustangs a 60-57 lead after scoring 13 consecutive points.
Barclay hit a layup for Villa Maria to halt Monroe's run and get the visitors back within a point, but Olivia Medford drained a three to give the Mustangs a four-point edge. Maria Falanga responded with a longball for the Vikings to make it a one-point difference once again. Carvajal-Caro scored two, but Jordon Wright hit a three for the Vikings to tie the game at 65-65 with 3:19 remaining.
Carvajal-Caro made two shots from the line, and then Medford sank a layup to put Monroe up, 69-65. Leah McQuiller then hit a layup to make it a two-point game, but Barnwell responded with one of her own on the next trip down the court. Barclay came back with a layup for Villa Maria, but Tanae Arnold then made 1-of-2 from the line to make it a three-point game. McQuiller then tied the game with a three, making it a 72-72 score with 36 seconds left.
The Mustangs had possession with a chance to take the lead back, but Wentz was called for an offensive foul, giving the Vikings a chance to win the game before the buzzer. Barclay tried to win it with four seconds left, but her shot fell short and was grabbed by Wentz. Barclay then tripped up Wentz, sending her to the line with just 0.4 on the clock. Wentz came through for the Mustangs in the clutch, making both chances to secure a 74-72 victory for Monroe.
The Mustangs fell behind, 10-3, early in Sunday's matchup, but Medford made three from beyond the arc across the first 5:21 to keep the Mustangs in it. Medford then made a layup to put the Mustangs ahead, 11-10, after an 8-0 run. The teams traded the lead back-and-forth for the rest of the first quarter, with Kennedy scoring the final bucket of the period to put the Vikings up, 19-18, heading to the second.
The Mustangs grabbed the momentum to start the second, scoring the first five points of the period and going on an 8-2 run to take a 26-21 advantage. The Vikings responded with the next nine points to go back up, 30-26. After Wentz hit a jumper, Villa Maria closed out the half with seven straight points, including a buzzer-beating three by Wright, giving the visitors a 37-28 lead heading into the locker room.
The flow of the game slowed down to start the third, but each team traded baskets, seeing the Vikings hold a 42-32 edge with 7:03 left in the period. The Vikings scored another five coming out of a timeout to go up by 15. Trailing by 17 with two minutes to go in the third, Aysia Pink hit a three, and Barnwell followed with a layup, sending the game to the fourth with the Mustangs trailing the Vikings, 53-41.
Medford led the Mustangs with 20 points, nine rebounds, five assists and five steals in Sunday's comeback victory. Barnwell was next with 14 points, six boards and four takeaways. Wentz contributed 13 points with six rebounds and five assists. Carvajal-Caro finished with 12 points, while Pink provided 11 points and two steals.
The Mustangs shot 68.4 percent (13-of-19) in the fourth quarter and finished 29-of-66 (43.9 percent) for the day. Monroe held a 43-34 edge in rebounds in the win. Depth made a difference, as the Mustang bench outscored Villa Maria's, 23-11.
The Mustangs will take a three-game winning streak into their next matchup on Tuesday, Feb. 8, when they host Lackawanna College at the Monroe Athletic Complex. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m., followed by a 7 p.m. matchup between the Monroe and Lackawanna men's teams.