BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - All five starters scored in double figures, led by junior Samantha Delaney's (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) fifth career double-double, as the Saint Michael's College women's basketball team downed the University of the District of Columbia, 77-59, on Sunday in Hubbell Gym during the University of Bridgeport Conference Crossover Tournament. The Purple Knights are off to their second 2-0 start in four years, while the Firebirds fell to 1-1 after the teams' first meeting.
Delaney notched a career-high 21 points, shooting 7-of-10 from the field and 7-of-8 on free throws, and grabbed 14 rebounds, within one of her career high. Sophomore Brianna Purcell (Bedford, N.H./Bedford) shot 5-of-7 from the floor and 6-of-9 on freebies en route to 16 points, while senior Leah Spencer (Brockton, Mass./Archbishop Williams) and junior Emily Ferreri (Hyde Park, N.Y./Our Lady of Lourdes) both had 11 points and four assists, with Ferreri hauling in six rebounds.
Senior Maddy Bennett (Montpelier, Vt./U-32) added 10 points. Redshirt first-year Casey Evans (Londonderry, N.H./Saint Andrew's School) collected five boards off the bench, as the Purple Knights held a 43-31 rebounding edge. Saint Michael's shot 24-of-31 on free throws to the Firebirds' 11-for-22, including using a 19-of-22 second-half showing to the District of Columbia's 3-for-10 performance to pull away.
First-year Daeja Quick led the Firebirds with 17 points and six steals, while sophomore Sarah Hare had 10 points off the bench.
Two Quick free throws accounted for the game's first point 19 seconds into the opening period before the Purple Knights countered with 14 of the next 16 points, as Delaney scored six of those and Ferreri had another four. The Firebirds cut their deficit in half by 4:56, when sophomore Kayla Cooper hit a three-pointer to make it 14-9, but an 8-2 Saint Michael's run extended the lead to 22-11, with Delaney netting four points in that time.
After leading 24-14 following the first stanza, the Purple Knights pushed their lead to as many as 16 in the second period, at 32-16 on a Delaney lay-in with 5:02 to go. First-year Dana Harrington scored four points in a 6-0 Firebird response, but Purcell dropped in a bucket at 3:39 to push the edge back to 34-22, and Saint Michael's continued leading by no less than 12 for the remainder of the half. The Purple and Gold used 54.8 percent shooting in the opening 20 minutes while holding advantages of 22-12 in rebounding and 30-14 in paint points.
Up 40-27 heading into the third period, Saint Michael's led by as many as 16 points twice prior to Quick's lay-in with 11 seconds to go creating a 53-42 margin, the closest the Firebirds came in the second half. Spencer's three-point play at 9:21 of the fourth quarter extended the lead to 17, and another Spencer three-point play 1:41 later made it 64-46. The District of Columbia never again trailed by fewer than 13 points.
Saint Michael's opens its Northeast-10 Conference and home slates on Wednesday when it opposes Southern New Hampshire University at 5:30 p.m.