Game-ending 20-8 run helps Purple Knights pull away from New Haven

WEST HAVEN, Conn. - On the strength of a game-ending 20-8 run during the final four minutes, the Saint Michael's College women's basketball team broke open a two-point contest to down the University of New Haven, 89-75, on Wednesday evening in Northeast-10 Conference play at Charger Gymnasium. The Purple Knights won for the fourth time in five outings, improving to 6-10 overall and 4-8 in the league, while the Chargers are 6-10 and 5-7.

Senior Megan Olsen (Glenmont, N.Y./Bethlehem Central) finished with 18 points for Saint Michael's, knocking down three three-pointers while snagging seven rebounds, and junior Cara Deroy (Hamden, Conn./Hamden) totaled 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting to go along with four assists while playing just down the road from her hometown. Senior Nicole Adach (Schenectady, N.Y./Mohonasen) had 12 points thanks to 8-of-8 free throw shooting, and first-years Makenzie Burud (Red Hook, N.Y./Coleman Catholic) and Megan Gaudreau (Brooklyn, Conn./Pomfret School) had nine points apiece. Gaudreau went 3-of-6 from three-point range. Junior Alexa Long (Waterford, Conn./Waterford) hauled in 13 rebounds while adding nine points.

Sophomore Ashley LeBlanc (Methuen, Mass./Methuen) netted a game-high 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting while corralling seven boards for the Chargers. First-year Briana Bradford (Waterbury, Conn./Holy Cross) added 18 points behind four three-pointers and six rebounds, while junior Anh-Dao Tran (Webster, Mass./Holy Name Central Catholic) had 15 points.

Long's lay-up 55 seconds into the second half gave the Purple Knights their largest lead to that point, 49-37, and the visitors still held a 60-51 advantage with 11:40 left on Gaudreau's three. However, in a game that saw the lead change hands 13 times, New Haven went back in front with 10 straight points for the first of four lead swaps in a matter of 2:11. Burud's lay-up with 7:34 left gave Saint Michael's the final lead, and the Purple and Gold extended its 69-67 edge at 4:14 into as many as 15 points down the stretch. Saint Michael's hit its final 11 free throw tries and five of its last six field goal attempts while holding the Chargers to 3-for-12 shooting in the final 3:39.

The teams exchanged nine leads while playing through three ties in the opening half. New Haven used a 7-0 run to grab a 16-10 advantage by the 11:25 mark, but Olsen canned a three-pointer to give the Purple Knights a 19-18 edge at 9:34, the first of five lead exchanges in a 2:04 stretch. LeBlanc completed a three-point play to knot the teams at 26 with 5:58 to play before Saint Michael's scored 21 points in the final 5:46.

An 11-4 spurt during which Deroy scored the final five points, and Gaudreau and redshirt sophomore Kaitlin Geary (Milton, Vt./Milton) knocked down triples 32 seconds apart, produced a 37-30 score. After the Chargers scored five straight points to creep within two, Olsen scored five points in a 10-2 run that pushed the visitors to a 47-37 advantage by halftime. They were buoyed by a 7-of-13 showing from downtown in the opening stanza, and committed just four turnovers. Deroy and Olsen each had 13 points by intermission.

The Purple Knights host The College of Saint Rose on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.