Women's Hoops Cruises in Season-Opening Victory
UNION, N.J. (11/15/11) – Junior guard Naimah Clemons scored a career-high 30 points and added five steals and four assists to lead the Kean University women's basketball team to a 96-74 season-opening victory over Gwynedd-Mercy College on Tuesday evening.
Clemons knocked down 12-of-14 shots, including 4-of-6 from three-point range, for the Cougars (1-0). The Griffins (0-1) were led by Bryn Cotteta, who finished with 18 points and three assists.
Kean scored 16 straight points in the first half to open up a 21-4 lead with 13:23 remaining in the half, as Clemons knocked down three from long range in the first seven minutes. The Griffins pulled to within 23-11 following a layup by Natasha Matthews, before back-to-back three-pointers from Clemons and senior Noel Mathis extended the lead to 29-11 with 11:03 left.
The Cougars would lead by as many as 24 points in the first half (61-37), before taking the 61-39 lead at the break, as they hit 60.5 percent of their shots from the floor (23-of-38). Clemons led the Cougars with 22 first-half points, hitting 9-of-10 from the floor and 4-of-5 from beyond the arc, while Mathis chipped in with 10 points and four assists.
For Gwynedd-Mercy, Brittany Neill and Matthews each had eight points.
Kean opened the second half with a 16-4 run to extend the lead to 77-43 following a pair of foul shots from Clemons just 4:39 into the half. The Cougars led by as many as 37 points on four different occasions in the second half, including one last time at 95-58, before the Griffins closed the game on a 16-1 run in the final four minutes.
Mathis finished with 12 points, six assists and five steals, while junior forward Simone Smith added 16 points.
Kean shot 49.3 percent from the floor (35-of-71) and outrebounded the Griffins, 48-29.
In addition to Cotteta, Neill (11 points) and Matthews (10 points) also finished in double figures.
Kean hosts the Cougar Classic on Saturday, November 19, and face Salisbury University in the opening round. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m.