MADISON — Even ignoring the Heal point implications of Friday night’s Mountain Valley Conference showdown with Madison, Monmouth had plenty of incentive to spoil senior night for the Bulldogs.

“They beat us by one point (39-38) earlier in the season on our court and they also beat us last year at our senior game when we were home, so this felt good,” Monmouth sophomore guard Tia Day said.

Day got the Mustangs’ revenge mission off to a good start by scoring nine of their first 11 points. That set the tone for a first half that saw Monmouth shoot 60 percent from the floor and create a cushion that the Bulldogs could never break down in a 52-40 victory.

Day scored all of her game-high 14 points in the first half. Haley West added 13 points for the Mustangs, who solidified a spot among the top two seeds in Class C South heading into the final week of the regular season.

“We have those times when we do shoot the lights out, and then we have games like we did at Hall-Dale (a 37-35 win on Tuesday) where we couldn’t throw a ball in the ocean,” Monmouth coach Scott Wing said. “Once we get rolling, kids usually loosen up and we do make some shots. It’s all in the confidence. You’ve got to remember, we’re still starting three sophomores.”

Kayla Bess led the Bulldogs (10-6) with 13 points, nine in the fourth quarter. Madeline Wood added 11 points.

While the Mustangs couldn’t miss in the first half, the Bulldogs stayed patient on offense but never got on track, shooting 29 percent through the first three quarters.

Leading 15-10, Monmouth went on a 10-0 run to start the second quarter. Day got it started with a 3-pointer, then fed West for a traditional three-point play. West added a deep jumper, then Abbey Allen (five points, eight rebounds) drilled her outside shot to make it 25-10.

“I thought we played decent defense. They just shot the ball very well in the first half,” Madison coach Al Veneziano said.

The Mustangs spaced the floor well in the first half, giving Day room to operate on the perimeter or off the dribble to find open teammates.

“We wanted to drive it in and, if we can, kick it back out because that’s the best way that we shoot,” Day said.

Madison missed its first six shots of the second period. When Erin Whalen (four points, 13 rebounds) finally ended the drought midway through the quarter, Hannah Anderson (10 points) answered immediately with another jumper and the Mustangs took a 29-20 lead into the locker room.

After making six of 10 shots in each of the first two quarters, the Mustangs finally cooled off in the third (3-for-10), but the Bulldogs ended up losing ground because Sidney Wilson (nine points) took on more of the scoring load inside and outside. Monmouth led 39-27 at the end of three.

Monmouth made just one of five field goal attempts in the fourth quarter but formed a conga line to the foul line led by Anderson and West to keep the Bulldogs from getting any closer than nine points.

“Madison is obviously one of the upper-tier teams and probably the last one that we’re going to play before the tournament,” said Wing, whose team finishes with Telstar and Wiscasset next week. “Having that confidence that we can play with a good team coming into the tournament, that’s big for us.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33


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