COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's basketball team trailed 10th-ranked Stonehill College by single digits in the fourth quarter before falling by a 68-54 count on Tuesday in the Ross Sports Center. The Purple Knights are now 8-14 overall and 5-12 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Skyhawks claimed their 16th consecutive league victory in moving to 20-2 and 16-1. Stonehill is 10th in the D2SIDA National Media Poll, first in the regional rankings, and first in the NE10 Northeast Division.
Senior Leah Spencer (Brockton, Mass./Archbishop Williams) scored 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting and two assists for the hosts, while junior Samantha Delaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) totaled 12 points, nine rebounds, five offensive boards and two steals. Sophomore Brianna Purcell (Bedford, N.H./Bedford) tacked on nine points and four steals, while classmate Taylor Miller (Falmouth, Mass./Falmouth) collected eight points and five boards, with three offensive. Junior Emily Ferreri (Hyde Park, N.Y./Our Lady of Lourdes) posted eight points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
For Stonehill, which won its 11th consecutive contest overall, senior Kelly Martin scored 23 points with eight rebounds and three steals, while classmate Courtney Walsh turned in 17 points, seven boards and three assists. Senior Samantha Hyslip had 14 points. The Skyhawks blocked eight shots and shot 46.6 percent.
Walsh scored the first five points as the Skyhawks grabbed a 6-0 lead, and the visitors pushed the advantage to 10-3 on sophomore Gabrielle Reuter's jumper at 4:41 of the opening quarter. Saint Michael's responded with six of the next eight points, with Miller, Purcell and Ferreri netting buckets in that time. Ferreri's lay-in created a 12-9 margin at 2:58, but Hyslip's jumper with 55 seconds to go accounted for the only points for either team down the stretch.
Hyslip's lay-in 11 seconds into the second quarter made it 16-9 before Delaney's jumper pulled her team within five, but three different Skyhawks scored during an ensuing 6-0 run that stretched the lead to 22-11. Miller scored four points during her team's 6-0 response, trimming the deficit back to five, but Stonehill used a 10-0 surge to forge ahead by 15, as three different Skyhawks buried a three-pointer. Saint Michael's drew within 13 points three times by the end of the period, including 36-23 as Purcell drove for a lay-in at the buzzer.
Stonehill never led by more than 14 points during the third period, as the hosts drew within 10 on two occasions, when Delaney put home a lay-in off of Ferreri's helper at 7:02 and Spencer converted a lay-up after Purcell's dish with 2:06 left. However, Walsh hit a freebie and Martin scored on a breakaway lay-up to give the Skyhawks a 13-point edge heading into the final period. Saint Michael's trimmed the deficit to nine on Purcell's lay-up at 8:23 of the fourth stanza, and Spencer's triple at 7:29 kept her team within 51-42.
After two Martin free throws made it 53-42, the Purple Knights possessed with a chance to cut the deficit into single figures, but they missed two shots and a free throw before ending the possession with a turnover, and an ensuing sequence ended in a miss before Martin nailed a three to kick off a 6-0 run, helping Stonehill pull away. Saint Michael's never again trailed by fewer than 14 points.
The Purple Knights visit Assumption College on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.