Women's basketball opens home slate with 56-54 setback to No. 23 Assumption

Women's basketball opens home slate with 56-54 setback to No. 23 Assumption

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's basketball team fell to No. 23 Assumption College, 56-54, on Saturday in Ross Sports Center, as three tying tries and a buzzer-beating tip-in attempt in the final five seconds fell off the mark. The Purple Knights are 1-3 overall and 0-2 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Greyhounds, whose ranking is according to the D2SIDA National Media Poll, are 4-0 and 2-0.

During its home opener, Saint Michael's finished up a season-opening four-game stretch during which three opponents were at least receiving national votes. Senior Makenzie Burud (Red Hook, N.Y./Coleman Catholic) turned in 14 points and 13 rebounds, including six offensive, for the hosts, while classmate Megan Gaudreau (Brooklyn, Conn./Pomfret School) totaled 10 points, five boards and four assists. Sophomores Tomi Akinpetide (Sydney, Australia/Rice Memorial) and Maddy Bennett (Montpelier, Vt./U-32) both notched eight points, first-year Samantha Delaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) snagged eight rebounds, and junior Indira Evora (Somerville, Mass./Somerville) blocked a pair of shots.

The Purple Knights, who entered the day last in the NE-10 in rebound margin, held a 39-33 advantage on the glass over the Greyhounds, who were second in the league in both boards per game and rebound margin.

Junior Allison Stoddard paced all scorers with 21 points, shooting 5-of-10 from three-point range, while classmate Kelly Carey added 11 points. Senior Ann Marie Idusuyi tacked on eight points and seven rebounds.

Neither team led by more than three points in the third quarter until Evora knocked down a three-pointer with 25 seconds to go, giving her squad a 45-41 edge, and Burud countered Carey's tying lay-up at 7:40 of the fourth quarter with a go-ahead triple at 7:20. Saint Michael's led 50-47. That was the beginning of Burud scoring the final seven Purple Knight points, but first-year Morgan O'Donnell dropped home a go-ahead lay-up with 4:39 left before Carey hit a triple 2:01 later to produce a four-point lead. Burud wrapped a pair of buckets around Stoddard's lay-up to keep the hosts within 56-54 heading into the final minute, and Gaudreau's board gave the Purple Knights a final possession.

Within the final five seconds, Saint Michael's had three missed lay-ups that would have tied the game, with each ending in an offensive board. The final one went out of bounds and allowed the hosts to retain the ball and inbound with 0.2 seconds left, but a desperation tip-in off the entry pass was off the mark at the buzzer.

Bennett scored four of her team's first nine points, including banking home a three-pointer, and Gaudreau buried a three-pointer to cap a 6-1 run that gave the Purple Knights a 9-5 advantage with 4:07 left in the opening quarter. Assumption responded with a 10-2 stretch over the final 2:14, with Carey hitting a three to start it and hitting a jumper in the lane just before the buzzer to cap it. After Gaudreau made a pair of freebies to draw Saint Michael's within 17-15 at 8:13 of the second period, Stoddard hit three triples during a 1:48 span that pushed the Greyhound lead to 11. The next seven points came from Purple Knights, and the hosts trailed 26-22 on Burud's jumper at 1:39. Gaudreau's trey just before the final horn made it 31-29 by halftime.

The Purple Knights hit the road for their next two games, beginning on Tuesday at Saint Anselm College for a 5:30 p.m. tip.