Gaudreau sparks key rally, Purple Knights hold off Pace, 67-59

Gaudreau sparks key rally, Purple Knights hold off Pace, 67-59

COLCHESTER, Vt. - Senior Megan Gaudreau's (Brooklyn, Conn./Pomfret School) buzzer-beating three-pointer at the end of the third quarter keyed a go-ahead 14-3 run, and the Saint Michael's College women's basketball team held off Pace University, 67-59, on Tuesday in the Ross Sports Center. The Purple Knights, who downed the Setters at home for the first time since 2009, improved to 6-8 overall and 3-7 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the visitors slipped to 9-8 and 4-5.

Sophomore Leah Spencer (Brockton, Mass./Archbishop Williams) led all scorers with 19 points for the hosts, shooting 7-of-14 with seven rebounds, and Gaudreau finished with 15 points on 5-of-12 three-point shooting. Senior Makenzie Burud (Red Hook, N.Y./Coleman Catholic) posted her seventh double-double of the year, all in the last 11 games, with 11 points and 12 rebounds while adding two steals. Junior Indira Evora (Somerville, Mass./Somerville) dished out six assists while picking up two steals, including the 150th of her career, and first-year Samantha Delaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) pulled seven rebounds and blocked two shots.

Three other Purple Knights scored four points, including sophomore Tomi Akinpetide (Sydney, Australia/Rice Memorial), who snagged six rebounds and picked up two steals and a block. The hosts committed only 10 turnovers while holding key advantages of 28-14 on points in the paint and 16-8 during second chances.

Senior Yuni Sher paced Pace with 17 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals, while sophomore Gabriella Rubin added 15 points. The Setters assisted 16 of their 19 baskets.

Pace erased a nine-point deficit with a 10-0 run early in the second half, with seven lead changes occurring during the final 5:58 of the third quarter. After two straight free throws by Sher and a jumper from graduate student Shanice Maynard made it 48-45 with 11 ticks remaining, Gaudreau buried a long trey at the buzzer, kicking off the Purple Knights' key run. She canned another triple 33 seconds into the fourth quarter, and Delaney's pair of free throws pushed the hosts into a 59-51 lead with 4:24 left in regulation. Rubin buried a three at 2:09 to finish off an 8-2 run, and the Setters trailed just 61-59, but Gaudreau responded with another three 31 seconds later following a Delaney offensive board. Pace missed its final three shots, with Gaudreau snagging the final rebound of the game.

By the time Spencer hit a jumper 1:13 into the game, the teams had exchanged three leads, and the Purple Knights broke out of a 7-7 tie with a 9-0 run over 3:13. Sophomore Maddy Bennett (Montpelier, Vt./U-32) had a pair of buckets in that time. Pace finished the quarter with an 8-3 spurt around an Evora three-pointer, but Saint Michael's extended its 19-15 lead with the first eight points of the second stanza, with first-year Emily Ferreri's (Hyde Park, N.Y./Our Lady of Lourdes) pair of free throws capping the run at 6:51. The Setters twice crept within eight before Akinpetide's putback made it 32-22 with 1:31 remaining, but the visitors scored on their next two possessions to trim the deficit to six. Burud's putback in the final 10 seconds made it 34-26 at halftime. The hosts committed only four giveaways in the opening half while forcing 10 turnovers.

Saint Michael's takes a break from NE-10 play by heading to Post University on Saturday at 2 p.m.