Women's basketball loses meeting for second place to Saint Anselm, 60-55

Women's basketball loses meeting for second place to Saint Anselm, 60-55

MANCHESTER, N.H. - The Saint Michael's College women's basketball team yielded a late 7-0 run to fall behind before slipping at regionally-ranked Saint Anselm College, 60-55, on Saturday during a meeting between second-place teams at Stoutenburgh Gym. The Purple Knights are 12-11 overall and 10-8 in the Northeast-10 Conference, sliding to fourth in the NE10 Northeast Division, while the Hawks remain tied for second at 16-8 and 11-7. Saint Anselm is 10th in this week's D2SIDA East Region Media Poll.

Sophomore Emily Ferreri (Hyde Park, N.Y./Our Lady of Lourdes) led the visitors with 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 2-for-3 from three-point range, to go along with two steals. Classmate Samantha Delaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) neared a double-double with nine points, 13 rebounds and two blocks, as did junior Tomi Akinpetide (Sydney, Australia/Rice Memorial), who notched nine points and nine boards to go along with two helpers. Senior Indira Evora (Somerville, Mass./Somerville) recorded seven points and four assists, while first-year Brianna Purcell (Bedford, N.H./Bedford) handed out three helpers.

Saint Michael's allowed 60 points or fewer for the 13th time this winter, as each of its past eight meetings with Saint Anselm has been decided by eight points or less. The Purple and Gold committed only 11 turnovers while holding a 42-39 rebounding edge and blocking four shots, but was outgained at the free throw line by a 13-4 count. While becoming the 44th Purple Knight ever to appear in 100 career games, Evora upper her point total to 995.

Saint Anselm, which has now played 18 games decided by 10 points or less, received 16 points from senior Caitlyn Abela, who added five blocks. Classmate Candace Andrews totaled 14 points, five assists and three steals, while senior Kaila Duarte pulled 12 rebounds.

The Purple Knights trailed 6-4 early in the opening period before forging ahead on the strength of a 16-2 run. Rookies scored the first 10 points, with Purcell netting four and first-year Cassandra Falone (Chatham, N.J./Chatham) nailing a pair of three-pointers. Ferreri scored the final five, making it 20-8 just 24 seconds into the second quarter. Saint Anselm countered with a 12-2 run, as six different Hawks scored baskets, rallying to within two points before trailing 26-23 at halftime.

During one 3:13 stretch of the third quarter, the teams played through three lead changes while being knotted once, as the Hawks led by as many as three points on three occasions before carrying a 38-37 edge into the final period. Evora's triple put the visitors up 44-42 with 6:54 to go as the first of four two-point leads by the visitors in the stanza, but Saint Anselm countered to tie the game each time.

Junior Maddy Bennett (Montpelier, Vt./U-32) knocked down two freebies to produce a 50-48 lead with 3:25 remaining, but Abela buried a trey 41 seconds later, and Andrews countered a missed Saint Michael's triple on the next possession with a lay-in at 2:12 that stretched the advantage to three. Another missed Purple Knight trey followed, and junior Ali Glennon's lay-in at 1:44 was followed by a visitor turnover. Evora's lay-up cut the deficit to 55-52 with 32 seconds left, but the Hawks went 3-for-4 on freebies in the next 11 ticks, and a missed three by Saint Michael's on the next possession iced the win for the hosts.

The Purple Knights return home to take on nationally-ranked Bentley University on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. The Falcons are 19th in this week's Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) national poll.