Starting with the tip off it was the Lions' game to lose as they secured the ball and Monroe delivered with a basket. The senior started the game by scoring seven consecutive points and helped give the Lions a lead that they would never relinquish.
Even though Monroe called it the best game of her collegiate career, she wasn't the only one taking care of business. Three other Lions scored in double figures, while Tyra Grant led all scorers with 14 points.
Hawks head coach Stephanie Gaitley, whose team started three freshmen, said it was tough for her young squad to deal with Grant and said the senior's experience definitely made it a tougher matchup. While Grant managed to have her way against the Hawks and was able to score from the outside, center Nikki Greene took care of the work in the paint.
Greene played with a heightened sense of physicality, which is something Washington attributes to her gaining more experience. In 23 minutes, the freshman shot 4-of-13 from the floor and was a presence on the defensive end. Greene's six free throws helped her end the night with 12 points, while her 14 rebounds are a career best.
"I didn't realize I had one until coach pointed it out," Greene said about having her first career double-double. "I guess it feels good, and it's a positive and means I'm heading in the right direction ... It tells you I can rebound and score and contribute points for the team."
While Washington was equally pleased with Greene's ability to stay out of foul trouble, the Lions did leave the game with one negative.
Sophomore guard Zhaque Gray, who was averaging eight points per game entering the contest, found herself on the receiving end of a collision with Monroe early in the second half. As Monroe and Gray went for the ball they got tangled up and as feet went flying, Gray hit the floor and suffered what Washington said was a hyperextended left knee.
Although Gray later returned to the bench on crutches, Washington said as far as she knows there is no structural damage to the starter's knee. As of now, Washington said it's a day-to-day thing and said her availability will depend on how soon the swelling subsides.
"It's gonna be difficult," Grant said about the possibility of playing without Gray. "But that's another obstacle we're gonna have to overcome and get through and get past. And hopefully we can bring someone in who can fill her void."