Women's hoops' late rally falls shy in 75-72 setback at regional power Franklin Pierce

RINDGE, N.H. - The Saint Michael's College women's basketball team nearly overcame a late deficit at regional power Franklin Pierce University before falling on Sunday, 75-72, during Northeast-10 Conference play in the FPU Fieldhouse. The Purple Knights slipped to 2-9 overall and 0-7 in the league, while the Ravens, who have qualified for the past five NCAA Tournaments, are now 7-4 and 4-3.

Senior Nicole Adach (Schenectady, N.Y./Mohonasen) scored 17 points with nine rebounds for the Purple Knights, going 3-for-4 from three-point range, and classmate Megan Olsen (Glenmont, N.Y./Bethlehem Central) added 15 points and six assists. Junior Alexa Long (Waterford, Conn./Waterford) totaled 13 points and seven boards in 18 minutes, and first-year Makenzie Burud (Red Hook, N.Y./Coleman Catholic) notched eight points and seven caroms. Junior Cara Deroy (Hamden, Conn./Hamden) collected seven assists for the visitors, who committed only 10 turnovers, including just three in the opening half.

Senior Tiffany Johnson (Saint Albans, Vt./BFA-Saint Albans) shot 6-of-7 from three-point range en route to scoring 26 points for the Ravens, and junior Brittany Martelle (Brookfield, Conn./Brookfield) scored 16 off the bench. First-year Kara Charette (Fairhaven, Mass./Fairhaven) totaled 14, and junior Kate McDonald (Fall River, Mass./B.M.C. Durfee) added 12. Franklin Pierce shot 12-of-20 from beyond the arc and committed only 11 turnovers.

Johnson completed a personal 12-2 run to knot the contest at 40 1:13 into the second half before Burud's lay-up capped a 16-5 Purple Knight counter with 12:15 left and pushed the visitors in front by a 56-45 count. Saint Michael's still led 59-55 until the hosts scored the next 11 points, with Johnson burying a triple to give the Ravens a 66-59 advantage with 6:41 to go. Franklin Pierce twice led by nine, for the final time at 73-64 with 2:20 to go, but Long went on a personal 5-0 run, bringing her team within 73-69 at 1:06 on a three-point play. However, Saint Michael's crept no closer than three, when first-year Megan Gaudreau (Brooklyn, Conn./Pomfret School) buried a three before the buzzer.

The teams exchanged the lead six times in the opening half, with McDonald's three-pointer at 14:05 giving the Ravens a 13-11 edge on the fifth lead change of the period. The Purple Knights responded with the next nine points, as four players scored, and the visitors extended their lead to 10 points on four occasions during the stanza, including when Adach drained a three with 1:08 to go to make it 38-28. However, Johnson hit two triples in the final 50 seconds to bring her team within 38-34 by intermission.

The Purple Knights are back in action on Wednesday at Pace University at 5:30 p.m.