NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - The Saint Michael's College women's basketball team concluded its season with a 69-64 loss to Merrimack College on Tuesday at Hammel Court. The Purple Knights ended 8-18 overall and 5-16 in the Northeast-10 Conference, suffering their eighth losses by 10 points or less, while the Warriors improved to 15-11 and 11-10. The contest mirrored Saint Michael's winning by five points at home, 65-60, in December.
Senior Leah Spencer (Brockton, Mass./Archbishop Williams) finished her career with a 23-point outing, shooting 5-of-8 from three-point range to register a career high in made triples. Sophomore Cassandra Falone (Chatham, N.J./Chatham) shot 2-of-4 from deep en route to 10 points and two steals off the bench, and junior Emily Ferreri (Hyde Park, N.Y./Our Lady of Lourdes) notched eight points, 10 rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks. Classmate Samantha Delaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) added eight points and seven boards.
First-year Nicole Anderson (Kittery Point, Maine/Marianapolis Prep) handed out three assists with four rebounds, senior Maddy Bennett (Montpelier, Vt./U-32) hauled in three offensive rebounds among her four boards in her final contest, and sophomore Taylor Miller (Falmouth, Mass./Falmouth) pulled five rebounds. Saint Michael's held advantages of 24-15 in points off of turnovers, 12-6 in second-chance points, and 15-8 on the offensive glass.
First-year Mayson Kimball led four double-digit Merrimack scorers with 16 points off the bench, and junior Karlee Alves had 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting with seven assists and three steals. First-year Alyssa Carey went 4-of-6 from beyond the arc on her way to 14 points and six rebounds, while sophomore Denia Davis-Stewart totaled 13 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
Delaney scored the first four points of the game before Spencer hit a three to make it 7-0, and her second triple at 4:35 of the opening quarter pushed the lead to 10-2. Alves scored five points during a 7-0 Warrior run, but Falone netted the next five, turning a steal into a lay-up before burying a trey at 2:25. Casey and junior Lindsay Werner knocked down triples during a go-ahead 10-2 run that bridged the intermission, and the hosts led 19-17.
Saint Michael's turned in a 9-2 run of its own, with Ferreri putting home two lay-ups in that time, and Delaney's put-back created a 26-21 lead with 6:10 left in the second stanza. Five straight points from Spencer extended the advantage to 33-27, but Casey buried two threes before halftime, at which point the hosts led 35-33.
Alves' steal and lay-in at 7:40 of the third quarter capped what became a 16-0 run, putting Merrimack up 10, and Carey's triple 57 seconds later pushed the lead to 11. Back-to-back threes from Falone and Spencer brought Saint Michael's within 50-45 at 2:52, and Spencer's lay-in at 2:06 kept it a five-point game before the Warriors twice pushed their lead back to nine on Kimball buckets. Falone's jumper with 5:49 left in regulation made it 60-55, and a Miller put-back was followed by Spencer's triple with 2:35 left that created a 64-60 margin.
Ferreri came up with a steal and lay-up with 1:29 remaining that produced a two-point contest, but Davis-Stewart responded with a basket on the next possession, and the Purple Knights turned the ball over the next time down the floor, leading to a Davis-Stewart free throw at 36 seconds that made it a two-score game.
Spencer finished her career 25th in program history with 946 points in 81 games, placing her 12th all-time in scoring average (11.7), just 0.1 point outside the top 10. She is 16th with 77 three-pointers. After hauling down 203 rebounds as a sophomore, Delaney ended the 2017-18 season with 205, becoming the 12th Purple Knight with multiple 200-rebound seasons. She heads into her senior year with 815 career points while standing fifth at Saint Michael's in blocks (115), 11th in offensive rebounds (183) and 16th in overall rebounds (573). Despite missing the final three games this season, sophomore Brianna Purcell (Bedford, N.H./Bedford) ended the year with 99 assists, the most by a Purple Knight since Marilyn Ferreira '11 had 129 in 27 contests in 2010-11.