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November 27th, 2013

Strong Second Half Surge Leads Stevens Past SUNY New Paltz

Strong Second Half Surge Leads Stevens Past SUNY New Paltz. Photo: ED DILLER
By Robin Jonathan Deutsch

HOBOKEN, N.J. - The State University of New Paltz women’s basketball team was tied 35-35 at halftime against host Stevens Institute of Technology, but the Ducks went on a 17-5 run in the first 8:29 of the second half to build a 12-point lead that the Hawks couldn’t overcome, eventually falling, 69-59, in non-conference action in Canavan Arena on Saturday.

The Hawks were never able to significantly cut into the Stevens lead, which held steady in double figures throughout the second half and swelled to 18 points, 68-50, with 2:55 remaining in the contest.

With 6:53 remaining, however, two free throws by sophomore guard Christine Rivera brought New Paltz within 57-48, but Stevens answered with an 11-2 run over the next 3:58 to build its 18-point lead with under three minutes to play.

The loss drops New Paltz to 0-4 on the season. Stevens improves to 3-1. The Hawks are back in action on Tuesday, Nov. 26 with a road contest against Mount Saint Mary College at 6 p.m.  Stevens travels to Centenary (N.J.) College for a 7 p.m. game on Tuesday, Nov. 26.

The Hawks played a strong first half, jumping out to a 14-8 lead on a jumper by freshman forward Courtney Irby with 14:21 to play and keeping pace with a deep Stevens team. New Paltz held meaningful leads at 24-20 after two free throws by junior guard Ashley Riefenhauser at the 6:27 mark and 30-27 with 2:51 until intermission after a three-pointer by junior guard Shannan Walker.
Stevens made a late push to take a 35-31 lead, but a pair of free throws by freshman guard Kit Small and an Irby layup knotted the score at 35-25 at halftime.

The Ducks got out to a fast start in the first ten minutes of the second half to separate themselves from the Hawks. Stevens senior forward Avis Benjamin keyed the offensive surge, scoring eight of her game-high 19 points during this game-changing stretch.

Walker led the Hawks in scoring with 14 points and four assists. Riefenhauser tallied 11 points. Irby led New Paltz with a game-high six rebounds.

Besides Benjamin, three other Stevens players scored in double figures. Freshman forward Hannah Brophy tallied 13 points, followed by sophomore forward Dylan Krause and senior guard Molly Spadaro, each who scored 12 points.

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