Women's basketball pulls away from Franklin Pierce, moves into second-place tie

Women's basketball pulls away from Franklin Pierce, moves into second-place tie

RINDGE, N.H. - The Saint Michael's College women's basketball team blew open a one-point game with a 7-0 run in the final three minutes on Wednesday to pull away for a 60-53 victory at Franklin Pierce University in FPU Fieldhouse. The Purple Knights improved to 12-10 overall and 10-7 in the Northeast-10 Conference, sliding into a three-way tie for second place in the NE10 Northeast Division with Assumption College and Saint Anselm College with four regular-season games to play. The Ravens are 2-20 and 0-17.

Saint Michael's won at Franklin Pierce for the first time since Jan. 22, 2001, snapping a 13-game losing streak there and picking up just its third victory on the Ravens' home court. The Purple and Gold allowed 60 points or fewer for the 12th time while picking up nine steals on 17 turnovers, using a 20-7 advantage in made free throws, and limiting the hosts to 4-of-16 three-point shooting.

Sophomore Emily Ferreri (Hyde Park, N.Y./Our Lady of Lourdes) put together her second 20-point outing of the season for the Purple Knights, netting 21 points on 10-of-17 shooting with seven rebounds and three steals. Classmate Samantha Delaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) had her fourth career double-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, while first-year Brianna Purcell (Bedford, N.H./Bedford) totaled 10 points, eight boards, four assists and two steals. In her 99th career game, senior Indira Evora (Somerville, Mass./Somerville) collected nine points, four assists to zero turnovers, and two steals.

Evora upped her career point total to 988, passing Alexis Keller '10 (987) to take over 20th in program history. With three free throws, she tied Makenzie Burud '16 (258) for seventh place at Saint Michael's, passed Becky Bouchard '85 (208) for eighth in steals at 209, and became the 30th Purple Knight ever with 200 assists (202).

Franklin Pierce, which has suffered 13 losses by 10 points or fewer, received 12 points and 11 rebounds from senior Mikayla Deguire. Classmate Dana Campbell and junior Jemma Thacker each added 10 points.

With Saint Michael's holding a 51-50 edge after first-year Cameryn Wilson hit a three-pointer with 3:02 left in the fourth quarter, Delaney while fouled while grabbing an offensive board and hit two free throws at 2:28 to spark the critical 7-0 run. The Purple Knights forced a turnover on the next Franklin Pierce possession - the first of four they registered in a late 1:36 stretch - and Purcell's lay-in pushed the lead to five. The next three Raven possessions also ended in turnovers, and Evora, Purcell and Delaney added single free throws to make it 58-50 with 24 seconds to go. Thacker buried a three six ticks later, and the hosts forced a turnover but immediately gave the ball right back. Evora hit a pair of game-icing freebies at 14 seconds.

The teams played through four ties in the opening quarter and five lead changes in the first half. An 8-2 spurt during which Ferreri scored six points gave the Purple Knights a 10-6 edge with 3:35 to go in the first period, but five points from junior Kelsey Mayo kicked off a 7-0 response by Franklin Pierce, which led 13-10 on Campbell's buzzer-beating jumper. Saint Michael's countered with the first eight points of the second stanza, and still led 25-20 on Purcell's two free throws with 2:05 left. However, the hosts netted the final seven points, including as Campbell hit a go-ahead three-pointer with five seconds remaining.

Nine more lead changes and four ties ensued in the third period alone, with the first six baskets of the second half all producing lead swaps. Thacker's three-point play had the Ravens up 40-39 with 1:56 left before Delaney and junior Tomi Akinpetide (Sydney, Australia/Rice Memorial) hit late free throws to put Saint Michael's on top by one point heading into the final quarter, where Akinpetide nailed two more freebies and Purcell added one of her own to cap a 5-0 run and give the visitors a 44-40 lead at 8:11. Campbell's three later knotted the game at 46, and Ferreri's three-point play made it 51-47 prior to Wilson's triple trimming the hosts' deficit to one at 3:02.

The Purple Knights visit Saint Anselm College on Saturday for a 1:30 p.m. contest. The Hawks are 10th in this week's D2SIDA East Region Media Poll.