Purple Knights rally past NCAA qualifier Charleston, Niebling earns 100th victory
SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - The Saint Michael's College women's basketball team began the second period on a 16-2 run on Sunday, overcoming a halftime deficit against 2011 NCAA Tournament qualifier University of Charleston (W.Va.) before pulling away for a 70-53 victory in Heiges Field House.
The victory, which came in the consolation game of Shippensburg University's Wolf's Bus Lines Classic, moved the Purple Knights to 1-1 and was the 100th of ninth-year head coach Jennifer Niebling's career on the Saint Michael's sidelines. Already a historic figure as a player in Vermont basketball circles, Niebling grew up in nearby Randolph, Vt., before scoring more than 1,435 points at the University of Vermont. She is the 13th coach in Saint Michael's Athletics history with 100 wins, and the fifth woman.
Junior Nicole Adach (Schenectady, N.Y./Mohonasen) tallied a double-double, recording 16 points and 12 rebounds to help Saint Michael's hold a 48-32 advantage on the glass. She shot 8-of-10 on free throws. Senior Coreen Hennessy (Chatham, N.H./Fryeburg Academy) added 16 points and four assists, and classmate Caitlin Quinn (Oakdale, Conn./Montville) knocked down a trio of three-pointers en route to 11 points. Adach and Hennessy were both among five players named to the all-tournament team.
Sophomore Alexa Long (Waterford, Conn./Waterford) had 10 points, seven boards and three blocks, and senior Samantha Steinmetz (Washington, Conn./Shepaug Valley) hauled in seven caroms. Junior Megan Olsen (Glenmont, N.Y./Bethlehem Central) and sophomore Cara Deroy (Hamden, Conn./Hamden) notched four helpers each, with Olsen adding eight points.
Sophomore Erika Rousculp (Worthington, Ohio/Thomas Worthington) had 11 points and 12 rebounds for Charleston, now 0-2, and classmate LeAnne Ross (Marietta, Ohio/Marietta) notched 11 points.
Eight lead changes occurred during the first half, with the Purple Knights leading by as many as six points at 14-8 with 12:38 left on Long's jumper. However, the Golden Eagles snapped the fourth tie of the stanza with the final four points of the period, with Ross hitting a go-ahead three at 1:05. Charleston led 31-27 at the half.
Saint Michael's countered early in the second half, scoring the first nine points, as Hennessy's go-ahead three at 18:37 provided the final lead change of the contest. Hennessy hit a jumper off a Steinmetz pass at 16:53 to cap the run, making it 36-31 at 16:53. After the Golden Eagles scored the ensuing basket to make it a three-point game, seven straight Purple Knight points bulged the margin to double digits, and Saint Michael's never again led by fewer than eight points. The Purple and Gold led by as many as 19, holding their opponent to 29.2 percent shooting in the second half while putting together a 28-14 rebounding advantage.
The Purple Knights open their Northeast-10 Conference slate on Wednesday evening at Southern New Hampshire University at 5:30 p.m.