NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The Monroe College women's basketball team turned in a strong defensive effort en route to a 56-46 victory over Baltimore City Community College Thursday evening at the Monroe Athletic Complex. The Mustangs improve to 16-11 with the win, while the Panthers fall to 21-7.
Both defenses looked strong to kick off Thursday's contest, resulting in a 7-6 lead for Monroe past the midway point of the first quarter. Both teams continued trading baskets until the Mustangs closed the period on a 4-0 run, giving them a 15-10 advantage after the first frame.
Some more back-and-forth saw the Mustangs hold an 18-15 lead with 6:37 left until halftime. Shanice Graves then drained a three, putting Monroe up by six. The Panthers got back within three shortly after, but Jessica Degree and Phyness Baldwin scored on back-to-back possessions to make it a seven-point game. After the Panthers narrowed the gap again, Monroe went on a 6-0 run to close out the half, taking a 31-22 lead into the break.
The Mustang run continued into the second half, as Monroe scored the first five points of the third to take a 36-22 edge. Baltimore City then went on an 8-2 run to shrink the deficit to eight points. The Panthers then closed the quarter with four straight points to trail 40-34 heading into the fourth.
The Mustang lead dropped to four at the 9:05 mark of the fourth quarter after a pair of free throws by Dony'e Moses. Later, a 6-0 run for the Panthers made it a 46-45 lead for Monroe with just 3:02 left in regulation. Baldwin then made a jumper to put the Mustangs back in the lead by three. A free throw for Baltimore City made it a two-point game, but Monroe turned things right back around, going on an 8-0 to close out the game and pick up the 10-point victory.
Baldwin and Shanice Graves matched for a game-high 15 points. Baldwin added six boards and eight steals, while Graves had five steals and four rebounds. Amani Williams added nine points, six assists and five steals. Altogether, the Mustangs forced 25 turnovers, and picked up a total of 19 steals.
The Mustangs will celebrate Sophomore Day on Saturday, Feb. 24, before hosting the Monroe College Express for the very first time. Tip-off for Saturday's contest is slated for 3 p.m. following the JV men's basketball team's matchup against the Express.