Purple Knights have late lead wiped out in setback against Merrimack

Purple Knights have late lead wiped out in setback against Merrimack

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's basketball team led during the latter portion of the second half on Tuesday versus Merrimack College before suffering an 80-62 setback in the Ross Sports Center during Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division action. The Purple Knights slipped to 2-7 overall and 1-5 in the NE-10 during their first game since Dec. 7, while the Warriors are 5-5 and 3-4.

Senior Alexa Long (Waterford, Conn./Waterford) posted her fifth double-double of the season for Saint Michael's, totaling 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting to go along with 11 rebounds. First-year Indira Evora (Somerville, Mass./Somerville) tied her season high with 16 points behind 9-of-11 free throw shooting in addition tallying a season-best eight rebounds and matching her high of four assists. Sophomore Makenzie Burud (Red Hook, N.Y./Coleman Catholic) had eight points, and junior Maggie Sabine (Litchfield, Maine/Oak Hill/Central Maine CC) added six points and five rebounds.

Merrimack used a 22-4 run that began with fewer than eight minutes remaining in regulation to turn a two-point deficit into a sizable lead, buoyed by 53.6 percent second-half shooting, including an 8-of-14 three-point performance. Junior Chloe Rothman (Newton, Mass./Newton South) posted a game-high 23 points on 5-of-10 three-point shooting in addition to six assists and three steals, and senior Shelby Secor (Antioch, Calif./Antioch) had 19 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore Ashley Weissman (Highland, Calif./Summit) scored 12 points, and junior Aria Johnson (Los Osos, Calif./Morro Bay/Cuesta College) notched eight points, 10 boards and three steals.

The Purple Knights, who trailed by as many as eight points in the first half, including 33-25 with a little more than a minute remaining, received six points apiece from Burud and Evora during a 21-8 run that put them on top 46-41 at 14:25 of the second stanza. After Long snapped the second tie of the half on a three-pointer at 10:23 to provide the hosts with a 51-48 edge, Merrimack forced another knot before Burud knocked down a pair of freebies at 8:30, making it 54-52. Secor responded by scoring seven points during a 10-0 run, but sophomore Megan Gaudreau (Brooklyn, Conn./Pomfret School) knocked down a three-pointer from the left wing at 5:20 to cut the Purple and Gold's deficit to 62-58. The Warriors responded with the next 12 points, and the hosts never again came closer than 14 points.

Saint Michael's snapped an early 4-4 tie by scoring eight of the next 10 points, with Evora hitting four freebies before senior Cara Deroy's (Hamden, Conn./Hamden) jumper gave the hosts a 12-6 edge at 14:28 of the opening half. Merrimack countered with the next 13 points, receiving scoring from six players, including as Weissman nailed back-to-back three-pointers to cap the run at 9:28. A free throw off the hand of Deroy brought Saint Michael's within 20-17 before Rothman's triple gave her team the first of two half-best eight-point advantages at 25-17. Evora nailed a three-pointer just before the halftime buzzer that rattled off the rim and in to create a 35-31 margin at intermission. The hosts shot 42.3 percent to the Warriors' 32.4 percent, but Merrimack knocked down five three-pointers to the Purple Knights' one.

The Purple Knights head to the University of New Haven on Friday for a 6 p.m. non-conference game to close out the 2013 calendar year.