GRANTHAM, Pa. – The Kean University women’s basketball team scored the game’s first nine points and never looked back as the Cougars defeated host Messiah College, 73-64, in non-conference action on Saturday afternoon.
Senior forward Tiffany Patrick had a double-double with game-highs of 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Cougars (8-1). For Messiah, Dori Gyori also finished with a double-double, as she had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Falcons (4-5).
Kean took a 9-0 lead just 3:12 into the game, as sophomore Nicol Biesek had four points and Patrick had a three-point play. After the Falcons netted the game’s next five points, Kean extended the lead out to eight points at 15-7 and again at 17-9.
Messiah answered with a 9-0 run to pull within one point at 19-18, however the Cougars responded right back with 12 unanswered points, as sophomore Naimah Clemons had six points, capping the run with a lay-up for the 31-18 lead with 3:30 left in the opening half.
The Cougars extended the lead to as many as 14 points on a lay-up by Patrick en-route to giving Kean a 33-21 lead at halftime.
In the second half, the Cougars again extended the lead back out to as many as 14 points when senior forward Angelica Bermudez opened the second-half scoring with a lay-up. The Cougars would maintain a double-digit lead for the first five minutes of the half and again led by 10 points at 53-53 following a lay-up by Clemons with 10 minutes remaining, before the Falcons used a 6-0 run to pull to within four points at 53-49 with 7:05 left in the game.
The Cougars would eventually extend the lead back out to double-digits and Messiah would get no closer than six points in the final three minutes of the game, as Kean hit 3-of-4 foul shots in the final 50 seconds of the game to seal the nine-point victory.
Rookie Emily Cristaldi finished with 11 points and four assists, while Clemons and Biesek combined for 19 points and 15 assists.
Falcon freshman Taylor Miller had 17 points, as Messiah connected on 24-of-30 free throws to keep the game close.
Kean returns to action on Tuesday, December 21, when the Cougars host University of Scranton. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.
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