COLCHESTER, Vt. - Behind 69.0 percent second-half shooting, the Saint Michael's College women's basketball team pulled away from Franklin Pierce University for a 75-63 victory on Saturday during Northeast-10 Conference action in the Ross Sports Center. The Purple Knights are now 8-13 overall and 5-11 in the league, while the Ravens slipped to 4-17 and 1-15.
Sophomore Brianna Purcell (Bedford, N.H./Bedford) totaled 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting with five rebounds, three assists and three steals for the hosts, while senior Leah Spencer (Brockton, Mass./Archbishop Williams) tallied 15 points and six boards. Junior Emily Ferreri (Hyde Park, N.Y./Our Lady of Lourdes) contributed a well-rounded 14 points, five rebounds, four offensive boards, eight assists, five steals and a block.
Junior Samantha Delaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) added eight points, seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks, pushing past the 750-point plateau (757) for her career and moving into the top 20 in rebounding at Saint Michael's, taking over 19th with 534 boards. Sophomore Taylor Miller (Falmouth, Mass./Falmouth) blocked a pair of shots, while she and classmate Cassandra Falone (Chatham, N.J./Chatham) both had six points off the bench. Spencer moved into a tie for 25th in program annals in scoring with Lynne Liebhauser '94 (858).
The Purple Knights held a 14-7 advantage on the offensive glass, leading to a 15-2 lead in second-chance points, forced Franklin Pierce into 20 turnovers, and blocked five shots. After a 29.4 percent shooting performance in the first half, when it scored 30 points, Saint Michael's scored 30 points alone in the third quarter on 68.4 percent (13-of-19) shooting before going 7-for-10 (70.0%) in the fourth quarter. In all, the hosts shot 20-for-29 (69.0%) in the second half.
Senior Jemma Thacker led Franklin Pierce with 20 points on 5-of-11 three-point shooting with four assists, and first-year Claudia Tucci shot 6-of-9 off the bench for 16 points. Classmate Demi Akins added 10 points.
Purcell scored the game's first four points before Thacker knocked down a pair of three-pointers in an 8-2 response. Ferreri followed with four points during a 6-0 run that followed, assisting the other basket in that time, and Spencer's triple had her team up 19-15 at 1:08 of the opening period. Falone's trey from the left wing extended the lead to 28-20 with 5:40 left in the second before four Ravens scored in a tying 10-2 run, with Akins' jumper knotting the contest at 30 just 36 seconds before halftime. The teams remained heading into the locker room despite the visitors shooting 56.5 percent, as the hosts forced 13 turnovers while committing only seven.
Saint Michael's started the third quarter by hitting seven of its first eight shots and utilizing a 16-3 run that created a 13-point margin just 3:49 after halftime. Purcell and Spencer both posted seven of those points, with Purcell dishing off an assist on the other hoop. The duo scored nine points each in the third period alone. Delaney's lay-in at 1:27 increased the lead to 58-43, and the advantage was extended to 16 four times in the fourth quarter, as Franklin Pierce never came closer than the final score down the stretch.
The Purple Knights host No. 18 Stonehill College on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. The Skyhawks are nationally ranked by D2SIDA while sitting third in the organization's East Region poll.