NJIT picked up its first road win of the season, led by a season-best 21 points from graduate student Tatianna Torres in the Highlanders' 72-51 victory at LIU Brooklyn in women's basketball non-conference action at the Steinberg Center Sunday afternoon.
NJIT (2-8) snaps a three-game skid while LIU Brooklyn (0-9) remains winless on the season.
NJIT led 21-20 at the end of the first quarter and held the home team to single digits (six) in the second quarter, taking a 38-25 advantage heading into the half.
LIU Brooklyn's best scoring quarter was the third stanza, 20-16, but the Highlanders again kept the Blackbirds to just six points in the fourth quarter, outscoring the home team, 18-6, to secure the first road win of the 2018 season.
Torres scored 12 of her 21 points in the first half, finishing 9-for-18 from the field, including six rebounds and six assists.
Junior forward Danielle Tunstall posted her second double-double of the season, producing 18 points, 11 rebounds and four steals. Tunstall led all players with 11 boards as the Highlanders outrebounded the Blackbirds, 39-28.
Graduate student Kelly Guarino and Ellyn Stoll netted 11 points each in the win.
Jeydah Johnson was the lone double-figure scorer for LIU Brooklyn with 20 points, finishing 8-for-13 from the field and 3-of-3 from beyond the arc. Freshman Brandy Thomas, who entered the game tied for first in the nation in double-doubles, was held to just eight points and three rebounds.
NJIT got off to a hot start to open the game, hitting 4-of-6 from the field and jumping out to a 9-3 advantage over LIU Brooklyn. The Blackbirds used a 6-2 spurt sparked by a jumper by Johnson at the 6:26 mark, pulling within two of the Highlanders, 11-9.
LIU Brooklyn cut the visitors lead to within one, 12-11, with 4:32 on the clock after a bucket by Thomas. NJIT took a five-point lead, 20-15, after a short 6-2 run, with less than two minutes to play in the quarter. The Blackbirds scored the final four points of the first quarter, cutting the Highlander lead to within one, 20-19.
NJIT scored the first seven points of the second quarter, increasing the Highlander lead to eight, 27-19. LIU Brooklyn went scoreless in the first five minutes until Johnson knocked down a three-pointer from the wing to break the scoring drought.
Torres scored the next four points, pushing the Highlander lead to six, 31-25, under the five minute media. NJIT scored the final seven points of the second quarter, taking its biggest lead of the game, 13, 38-25.
Torres shared game-high honors with Johnson from LIU Brooklyn with 12 points. Guarino was the other double-figure scorer at the half with 11 points on 3-of-5 from three-point range.
NJIT continued its momentum in the third quarter, scoring the first six points – four of which from sophomore Stoll, taking a 44-25 lead.
LIU Brooklyn's Johnson scored five points in less than two minutes, to keep to the Blackbirds within distance of the Highlanders, 49-34. The Blackbirds cut the Highlander deficit to single digits, 54-45, thanks to a last second shot at the buzzer to close the third quarter by Tia Montagne.
NJIT started the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run (five points by Torres), extending its lead to 62-45 and the Highlanders never looked back securing 72-51 victory.
As a team, the Highlanders dished out 13 assists and registered 11 steals in the win.
NJIT will close out its 2018 road schedule when the Highlanders visit Colgate on December 14 at 6 p.m.
NJIT has not played Colgate since the 2012-13 season when the two squads split the season series. The Highlanders grabbed the late-game victory in the second meeting with a winning three-pointer from Martina Matejcikova with eight seconds left on the clock.