Kean Wins in NCAA Tourney Opener

Kean Wins NCAA Tourney Opener

UNION, N.J. (3/5/10) - Senior guard Cardiss Jackman (Tobyhanna, Pa.) led four Cougars in double-figures, scoring 16 points to lead Kean University to a 105-68 win over Penn State Berks in the first round of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament on Friday evening.

The #2 Cougars (27-1) extend their school-record winning streak to 27 straight games, as they connected on more than 50 percent of their shots from the floor (44-of-84/52.4%).   

In Penn State Berks' first appearance in the NCAA Tournament, senior center Courtney Bailey (Harrisburg, Pa.) had game-highs of 24 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Nittany Lions (19-10). 

After the Nittany Lions scored the first bucket of the game, the Cougars answered with 10 straight points and would add another 13-0 run en-route to taking a 32-10 lead with 11:30 remaining in the opening half.  Sophomore guard Brittany Powell (Tinton Falls, N.J.) had 10 points, while Jackman (pictured right) and junior forward Tiffany Patrick (Piscataway, N.J.) combined for 15 points in the first 8:30 of the game.

The Cougars, without leading scorer Melissa Beyruti (Union City, N.J.) who is day-to-day after suffering an injury a week ago in the New Jersey Athletic Conference Championship Game, would lead by as many as 28 points at 45-17 on a three-pointer by Powell, before taking the 57-25 lead at the break.  Powell (pictured left), who started in place of Beyruti, scored all 15 of her points in the opening half, while Jackman added 10 points.  Bailey had 14 points and nine rebounds in the first half for Penn State Berks.

In the second half, the Nittany Lions could get no closer than 23 points and Kean led by as many as 39 points (101-62) to win in the opening round of the NCAA tournament for the fourth straight season. 

Patrick nearly finished with a double-double, as she finished with 15 points, nine rebounds, five steals and three blocks, while freshman guard Naimah Clemons (Newark, N.J.) finished with 10 points, eight assists and four steals. 

In the win, 14 Cougars played at least seven minutes and scored at least two points.  Freshman Brittanie Payne (Willingboro, N.J.) (pictured right) dished out a career-high eight assists and added seven points, while classmate Simone Smith (Colonia, N.J.) added nine points, five rebounds and three blocks.

For Penn State Berks, junior forward Steph Binder (Reading, Pa.) had 11 points.

The Cougars face Tufts University, a 71-59 winner over Muhlenberg College, in the second round on Saturday evening at 6 p.m.