By Monica D’Ippolito
JERSEY CITY, NJ — The State University of New York at New Paltz suffered its first loss of the season Saturday, going on the road and falling to New Jersey City University, 75-71.
The Hawks went into the fourth quarter up by two after a made free throw in the final minutes by Semaiah Williams, but the two teams traded leads four times in the period until Damaris Rodriguez jumper with four minutes left in the period. SUNY New Paltz tied the score at 62, and again at 64 with a nice finish in the paint by Brianna Fitzgerald.
The Hawks cut the score to three after draining her seventh 3-pointer of the game with 31 seconds left to match a career-high on the night, bringing the score to 70-67. SUNY New Paltz forced a turnover on the inbound with a steal by Brianna Fitzgerald with the Hawks getting a good look underneath by Abby Korzekwinski who went up and took a lot of contact with no whistle sounding, which resulted in a turnover.
With time ticking down, SUNY New Paltz was forced to foul. Walton reached in to stop the time, but a discrepancy with the away book and home book led to a foul out by the senior who had the hottest hand of the game. After deliberation, Walton was awarded her fifth and final foul and was forced to sit the remainder of regulation in the one-score contest.
The final 20 seconds was decided at the foul line with New Jersey City making 5-of-8, while the Hawks hit just 2-for-5 and unable to capitalize with a go-ahead bucket.
SUNY New Paltz did well on the glass, which kept its offense afloat, especially in the second half. It out-rebounded the Gothic Knights, 48-40, including 22-15 on the offensive glass.
New Jersey City’s offense caught on in the second quarter and shot above 44 percent from that point forward with its bench scoring 12 points, while the Hawks reserves added five.
Fitzgerald and Walton were the catalysts for the Hawks, as they combined for 49 of the the team’s 71 points. Walton finished with a career-high 25, shooting 7-for-16 from 3-point range with seven rebounds, one assist, one block and two steals. Fitzgerald followed with 24 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and three steals. Korzekwinski was the only other player for SUNY New Paltz in double-figure points, registering 12 to go along with four rebounds, an assist and a steal.
SUNY New Paltz dropped to 3-1 on the year and is back in action Dec. 1-2 as it enters SUNYAC play on the road against SUNY Geneseo and SUNY Brockport, respectively.