Women's basketball matches 13th-ranked Stonehill until late in 83-79 setback

Women's basketball matches 13th-ranked Stonehill until late in 83-79 setback

EASTON, Mass. - The Saint Michael's College women's basketball team stood tied with 13th-ranked Stonehill College until 1:31 remained during an 83-79 loss on Saturday in Merkert Gymnasium during Northeast-10 Conference play. The Purple Knights, who played for the first time since Dec. 20, slipped to 7-5 overall and 2-5 in the league, while the Skyhawks are 9-1 and 6-1. Stonehill, which qualified for nine of the past 12 NCAA Tournaments, is 13th in both national polls and sits second in the D2SIDA East Region Media Poll.

Saint Michael's, which had won three of its past four games, had four players score in double figures. Junior Makenzie Burud (Red Hook, N.Y./Coleman Catholic) shot 8-of-12, including 3-of-4 from three-point range, to turn in 19 points, nine rebounds and four assists, while senior Maggie Sabine (Litchfield, Maine/Oak Hill/Central Maine CC) totaled 13 points, seven boards and three steals. Classmate Kelly Frappier (Colchester, Conn./Bacon Academy) and sophomore Indira Evora (Somerville, Mass./Somerville) both collected 12 points and five rebounds. First-year Tomi Akinpetide (Sydney, Australia/Rice Memorial) added nine points off the bench, and junior Megan Gaudreau (Brooklyn, Conn./Pomfret School) matched a career high with seven assists. The Purple Knights shot a season-best 47.6 percent from three-point range and held advantages of 38-30 in rebounding and 13-2 in second-chance points.

Sophomore Kelly Martin (Scituate, Mass./Scituate) scored a game-high 21 points for Stonehill while adding seven assists and three steals, and senior Tori Faieta (Lynn, Mass./Saint Mary's) notched 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. Classmate Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) also had 15 points, as the Skyhawks held a 20-2 advantage in fast-break points.

The hosts led 62-56 with fewer than nine minutes remaining in regulation, but Saint Michael's chipped its deficit to two points on five occasions before Akinpetide knocked down a three at 3:25 to draw her team within 72-71. Following two Stonehill free throws, Burud hit a triple of her own with 2:36 left to knot the game at 74, and Frappier countered two ensuing Skyhawk freebies with a tying lay-up at 1:51. Just 20 seconds later, Pelletier made the tie-breaking triple for Stonehill, and the hosts converted a missed shot and a turnover on the visitors' next two possessions into three free throws and an 82-76 lead with 24 seconds left, their first advantage of greater than four points since 8:38 remained. Evora kept her team's hopes alive by hitting a trey with 10 ticks to go, but Martin followed with a clinching free throw.

The first half included 10 lead changes and five ties. With her team down 7-6, Burud buried a three at 15:52 before adding a lay-in 31 seconds later to cap a quick 5-0 spurt, as the 11-7 edge was her team's largest. After the hosts look the lead back, a Burud go-ahead lay-up at 10:43 was met by five straight points by Stonehill, as Martin canned a three to make it 26-22 at 8:35. Evora quickly countered with five points in a matter of 16 seconds, but back-to-back buckets by Martin gave the Skyhawk the final lead. Faieta's lay-in with 3:40 to go produced a 36-31 margin prior to Purple Knight first-year Maddy Bennett (Montpelier, Vt./U-32) hitting a three-pointer and a free throw, but two threes by the hosts gave them a 42-35 advantage, the largest of the game. Frappier's late hoop brought Saint Michael's within five points by halftime.

At 15:42 of the second half, Gaudreau knocked down a three-pointer to give the visitors a 47-46 edge and cap a 12-4 run that spanned halftime. Stonehill scored the next four points, but Gaudreau buried another triple at 13:34 to knot the game. Frappier's two free throws at 12:40 produced another tie before the Skyhawks scored eight of the next 10 points, grabbing a 60-54 lead with 10:39 to go.

The Purple Knights break until visiting Le Moyne College next Saturday at 12 p.m.