By Steven Merritt
FARMINGDALE – The Mount Saint Mary College Women’s Basketball team returned to the win column on Saturday, defeating Farmingdale State 59-37. The victory extends the Knights undefeated conference record to 6-0. Senior Kayla Cleare finished with a double-double, scoring 12 points and securing 13 rebounds to lead the Knights.
The Mount started hot as Annie Keenan and Lauren Desrats each knocked down a three to give the Knights an early 6-2 lead. The Knights began the contest on an 11-2 run following four points from Morina Bojka. The quarter concluded at a 14-4 advantage for Mount Saint Mary.
The second stanza began on 7-0 run for the Knights behind three points from Katie Smith and back-to-back baskets from Cleare in the first two minutes. A Desrats three-pointer with five minutes remaining pushed the lead to 16, the largest lead to that point. The lead ballooned to 20 at the halftime intermission following a Toriana Tabasco bucket with 21 seconds remaining.
Cleare finished the first half with nine points and 13 rebounds and Desrats finished with nine points as the Knights outshot the Rams 35.7-percent to 15.4-percent as they knocked down three more triples and nine more free throws.
The Mount continued to control the game in third quarter as they outscored Farmingdale 12-6 behind six points from Maite Gritsko. Farmingdale finished the fourth quarter with an 18-14 advantage with Nia Miller scoring nine points for the Rams in the second half and the Knights were led by Gritsko’s six points and Bojka’s five points. The Knights ended the game with a 22-point lead following a Cameron Villanueva layup with 20 seconds remaining in the contest.
Cleare finished the day 4-for-10 from the field and buried four free throws to secure her double-double. Desrats and Bojka each added nine points with Bojka having a team-high three steals and two rebounds and Desrats adding four rebounds. Tabasco chipped in seven points and five rebounds and Gabriella Rafaniello had a career-high four points and six rebounds.
Destiny Hurt led the way for Farmingdale State with 12 points and seven rebounds, Nia Miller chipped in nine points and five steals, and Alexis Hunter finished with a game-high 14 rebounds.
The Mount outshot the Rams 34.5-percent to 20.0-percent and buried one more three than the Rams. The Knights finished the game with 11 more free throws and outscored Farmingdale 22-16 in the paint. Mount Saint Mary finished with a 19-15 advantage in points off turnovers and grabbed eight more offensive rebounds.