Purple Knights rally to force overtime before falling in NE-10 opener, 65-59

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's basketball team opened its home slate on Wednesday with a 65-59 overtime setback to Southern New Hampshire University in Northeast-10 Conference play at the Ross Sports Center. Now 1-2 overall, the Purple Knights dropped their second straight contest in an extra session. The Penmen were beginning their season, while both squads began their league campaigns.

Senior Nicole Adach (Schenectady, N.Y./Mohonasen) scored 17 points to lead the hosts while collecting eight rebounds, three blocks and three steals. Classmate Megan Olsen (Glenmont, N.Y./Bethlehem Central) tallied 14 points and three steals, while junior Cara Deroy (Hamden, Conn./Hamden) notched 11 points and three assists. Junior Alexa Long (Waterford, Conn./Waterford) hauled in 10 rebounds, and first-year Makenzie Burud (Red Hook, N.Y./Coleman Catholic) added four steals.

Senior Michelle DeRoma (West Roxbury, Mass./Mount Alvernia/American International) scored 17 points, all in the first half, to pace the Penmen. She finished 5-of-7 from three-point range. Classmate Sloane Sorrell (Berwick, Maine/Noble) turned in 14 points and 13 rebounds, while senior Deborah LaValley (Rochester, N.H./Spaulding) knocked down four threes to add 12 points. Junior Victoria Wiseman (Montreal, Quebec/New Hampton School) collected nine points and 12 caroms, and sophomore Brooke Springfield (Jaffrey, N.H./Conant) had seven points, six rebounds and six assists.

Saint Michael's scored the final five points of regulation, including Adach scoring in transition at 1:42 to knot the game at 57 just seconds after blocking a shot at the other end. Following a Purple Knight turnover in the final 10 seconds, a Penmen shot at the buzzer from the lane glanced off the front rim.

In overtime, Wiseman scored 20 seconds in before LaValley hit a three 32 ticks later. Down just three after Olsen hit a pair of freebies with 43.5 seconds remaining, the Purple Knights needed a stop to remain trailing by one possession, but LaValley canned another triple with 26 seconds left.

The Purple Knights chipped away at a nine-point deficit to grab a lead midway through the opening half. After sophomore Kaitlin Geary (Milton, Vt./Milton) drained a three-pointer to bring her team within 4-3, the visitors scored eight straight points during an ensuing 1:16 span, with DeRoma knocking down a pair of treys to make it 12-3 by 14:30. Saint Michael's cut away at a 14-5 hole with an 11-1 run in a 2:51 span, with Olsen converting a three-point play with 8:19 remaining to put the hosts on top, 16-15. However, DeRoma drilled three-pointers on her team's next two possessions.

Adach forced a pair of ties during the final four minutes, hitting a pair of freebies at 3:57 to make it 25-25 before her three-pointer knotted the contest at 28. DeRoma added a three in the final minute, and the Penmen carried a 34-30 lead into the locker room. DeRoma had 17 of her team's points by the intermission, while Adach had 12.

In the second half, the visitors again pushed their lead to as many as nine, including with 9:10 remaining. The Purple Knights quickly inched within a point, 51-50, after first-year Megan Gaudreau (Brooklyn, Conn./Pomfret School) knocked down a trey to cap an 8-0 run in 2:31. Southern New Hampshire pushed its lead back to five before the hosts rallied in the closing minutes.

The Purple Knights return to action next Tuesday at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell at 5:30 p.m.