BURLINGTON, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's basketball team pulled to within one point after trailing by as many as 20 in the first half in an eventual 69-55 loss to Division I University of Vermont on Saturday at Patrick Gymnasium during an exhibition contest. The Purple Knights utilized only eight players versus Vermont, a quarterfinalist in last year's America East Tournament. The Catamounts used 13 players.
Junior Makenzie Burud (Red Hook, N.Y./Coleman Catholic) paced the Purple Knights with 18 points, nine rebounds and two steals, while senior Kelly Frappier (Colchester, Conn./Bacon Academy) added nine points, four boards and two blocks. Senior Maggie Sabine (Litchfield, Maine/Oak Hill/Central Maine CC) and first-year Tomi Akinpetide (Sydney, Australia/Rice Memorial Prep) both poured in eight points, with Sabine dishing four assists, and first-year Leah Spencer (Brockton, Mass./Archbishop Williams) had seven points and a pair of helpers.
First-year Sydney Smith (Vernon Hills, Ill./Vernon Hills) led the Catamounts with 14 points, three assists and three blocks, while senior Kayla Burchill (Portland, Maine/Deering) had 12 points and nine rebounds. Classmate Niki Taylor (York, Maine/York) shot 5-of-9 for 11 points.
The Catamounts, who led by as many as 20 points with 3:09 remaining in the first half, scored 11 unanswered points to start the game. Akinpetide's lay-up served as the first Saint Michael's points at 16:20 before Vermont was able to build a 29-10 margin with 7:55 remaining in the half. Spencer converted a three-point play prior to the hosts reestablishing their 19-point lead, but Burud made a bucket at 2:39, Frappier scored three points, and sophomore Indira Evora (Somerville, Mass./Somerville) converted two free throws with two seconds to go as the Purple Knights entered intermission trailing 37-22.
Saint Michael's started the second half with straight points to cap a 16-2 run, aided by two Sabine jumpers, a bucket from Frappier, and a three-point play by Burud at 16:38, and the visitors trailed 37-31 at 16:38. Burchill's lay-up ended Vermont's scoring drought, but Burud turned in five points to create a 39-36 score with 15:14 remaining. After the Catamounts twice went back up by six and still led 45-40, junior Megan Gaudreau (Brooklyn, Conn./Pomfret School) buried a three before Frappier brought the Purple Knights to within one after her lay-up at 10:46.
Taylor and Akinpetide then exchanged successful lay-ups to make the score 48-47 and, after another three points from Taylor, Burud's bucket kept it 51-49 at 9:21. However, the Catamounts began pulling away with six points in 1:22, beginning a game-ending 18-6 run during which time the Purple Knights recorded all of their points from the charity stripe.
The Purple Knights begin their regular season on Nov. 14 by hosting Queens (N.Y.) College at 7:30 p.m. during day one of the DoubleTree Tip-Off Classic.