NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The Iona College women’s basketball team dropped its second straight MAAC contest Sunday afternoon, falling to Monmouth in West Long Branch, NJ, 75-65. The Hawks killed the Gaels from long-range, shooting 55%, making a Gael opponent-high 11 triples on 20 attempts.
Sophomore Alexis Lewis scored a career-high 27 points, shooting 8-for-18 from the floor and 5-of-11 from deep. Senior Marina Lizarazu, the reigning MAAC Player of the Week, scored 19 points and dished out a team-high four assists.
Freshman Alaina Jarnot led Monmouth with 19 points, hitting on all four of her three-point attempts. Sophomore McKinzee Barker, who came in averaging five points per game, scored 16 points and went a perfect 8-for-8 from the charity stripe.
Rookie Amelia Motz, getting her second start of the season, got the Gaels on the board first with a lefty layup early on. However, the Iona offense fell flat for a long 6:30 stretch, allowing Monmouth to take a 13-4 lead. Lizarazu ended the drought with a pair of layups over the final two minutes of the opening quarter.
The Hawks led Iona 17-9 at the end of the first. The Hawks opened the game shooting 4-for-7 from beyond the arc, not netting their first two-point field goal until freshman Alexa Middleton hit a layup at 1:04.
Monmouth expanded its lead to 16 with 6:11 to go in the second, leading to Head Coach Billi Godsey calling her first timeout. The Hawks came out of the break with five quick points to take its largest lead of the game at 21 points. The Gaels entered the locker room trailing, 40-25.
Monmouth entered the game hitting a league-leading 9.1 three-point field goals per game, and it showed its prowess shooting 8-for-14 from long range in the first half. Freshman Kayla Shaw, senior Tyese Purvis, and Jarnot each had two three-pointers, combining to score 22 points over the first two quarters.
Iona opened the second half on a 7-0, closing the deficit to 40-32 with 7:40 left in the period. Following a timeout called by Hawks Head Coach Jenny Palmateer, Jarnot scored two quick baskets to bring life back to the home team and they elevated the margin back up to 12.
Lewis caught fire in the latter part of the third, finishing the frame with 14 points on 4-for-6 shooting and hitting 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. The Gaels allowed just one three-point attempt from Monmouth in the period.
The Gaels trailed 55-48 as the fourth quarter began. After starting the quarter on the bench with four fouls, Lizarazu reentered the game to nail a fade-away jumper and bring Iona back within five with 4:55 on the clock.
The three-point shooting that vacated the Hawks in the third reemerged in the fourth; they hit three triples and expanded their lead back to double-digits as the final minutes of the fourth ticked away. Barker made all eight of her free throws over the final 84 seconds to aid Monmouth in the home upset.
Senior Karynda DuPree finished with nine points and four rebounds coming off the bench. Freshman Tori Lesko had three assists, one block and one steal.
Monmouth’s 75 points scored is the most by an Iona opponent since the Maroon & Gold fell at Rider, 65-85 (Jan. 2).
Iona travels to Hamden, CT to battle against MAAC leading Quinnipiac. Tip-off between the Bobcats and Gaels tip-off at 5 PM on ESPNU.