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Saturday, January 20, 2007

MU women's hoops story for Sunday Press

By TONY GRAHAM
STAFF WRITER


NEW BRITAIN, Conn. - Apparently all the Monmouth University women's
basketball team needed to snap a two-game losing streak was a good, home made
Jamaican meal.
""It just gives us a little break,"" said Monmouth junior point guard Brianne Edwards whose family hosted
the team for dinner Friday night at her home in nearby Bloomfield,
Conn. ""And it's good to see my family, also,'' said Edwards.
""A little bonding,'' chimed in sophomore center Jennifer Bender.
Thus fortified and bonded Monmouth jumped all over Central Connecticut State Saturday
afternoon building a 21-point first-half and then warded off the Blue Devils
en route to a 73-65 Northeast
Conference victory.
The dinner marked the second year in row the Edwards family hosted the
Hawks, an occasion that was also followed by a victory at CCSU last season.
""It's become sort of a tradition,'' said Edwards. ""They're (her teammates)
like my family.''
""It was good,'' said Bender. ""Extra spicey food.''
Edwards and Bender each scored 16 points for Monmouth (10-7, 4-3)
with Bender tallying 12 in the
second half when CCSU( 4-13, 2-4) cut Monmouth's lead to six with 12:24
showing.

Edwards then hit two treys and Bender two layups helping
Monmouth open a 56-42lead.
Monmouth eventually wobbled safely to the finish line with all three point guards
out of action in the final momnets.
Edwards sat with two jammed fingers and Marisa Jimenez and ""Mo" Ware had
fouled out.
"They (her teammates) did a pretty good job seeing there weren't any
point
guards on the floor,''said Edwards.

Freshman forward Brooke McElroy emerged as the team's primary ball-handler in the
late going with one turnover in 12 minutes.
""They handled the pressure pretty well,'' said Edwards. ""It was a little scary that there was no ball handler out there but they did
what they could.""
Led by senior center Gabriella Guegbelet, the school's first 1,000 point scorer
and reboudner, CCSU got within 68-60 with 2:31 left.
McElroy sank
two from the line and Bender deposited a 13-footer to restore a secure
advantage.
""They were pressing but we were finding the open man,'' said Bender.
""They were attacking us but we were talking, saying ""attack is coming.' I
feel our team really meshes well together under pressure, especially.''
""It got pretty ragged (at the end),'' said Michele Baxter, Monmouth coach.
""But we held
on.''
Utilizing full-court pressure Monmouth turned five early turnovers into
eight points and then parlayed a 13-0 run to a 32-11 lead on two Edwards feee
throws with 5:09 left in the first half.
Jimenez added 13 points for Monmouth.

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