Purple Knights use 18-0 run to lead, hold off regionally-ranked Saint Anselm, 63-60

Purple Knights use 18-0 run to lead, hold off regionally-ranked Saint Anselm, 63-60

COLCHESTER, Vt. - An 18-0 run in the third quarter put the Saint Michael's College women's basketball team on top for good before the Purple Knights held off regionally-ranked Saint Anselm College, 63-60, on Saturday in the Ross Sports Center during Northeast-10 Conference play.

The Purple and Gold, which was celebrating Senior Day, is 8-15 overall and 4-14 in the league, while the Hawks had their nine-game winning streak snapped in falling to 16-7 and 12-6. Saint Anselm, which was second in the NE-10 Northeast Division, is ranked seventh in the latest D2SIDA East Region Media Poll.

Junior Indira Evora (Somerville, Mass./Somerville) led all scorers with 19 points, shooting 7-of-12 from the floor and 5-of-5 on free throws while adding three steals, and senior Makenzie Burud (Red Hook, N.Y./Coleman Catholic) had 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting with six rebounds. Classmate Megan Gaudreau (Brooklyn, Conn./Pomfret School) totaled eight points and five assists, sophomore Maddy Bennett (Montpelier, Vt./U-32) pulled down a career-high eight boards, and first-year Samantha Delaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) blocked three shots. Sophomore Lyric Blanch (Kingston, N.Y./Kingston) dished out three assists.

Burud increased her career point total to 1,183 during the game, taking over ninth in program history while passing Brigid Hegarty '06 (1,176) and Jes Hambley '03 (1,182). She's also now 10th in field goals, as she joins Kathy King '89, Amy Molina '93 and Tara Clark '00 as the only Purple Knights among the top 10 in scoring, field goals (445), free throws (246) and rebounds (716). In her 101st career game, Gaudreau pushed her three-point total to 175, remaining fourth. Both players were honored pregame during their second-to-last home contest.

First-year Samnell Vonleh led Saint Anselm with 13 points and 12 rebounds, including eight offensive, to go along with two blocks, while senior Raquel Johnson and juniors Caitlyn Abela and Candace Andrews netted 12 points apiece. Andrews handed out seven assists, and Abela went 4-of-8 from deep. Junior Kaila Duarte blocked four shots.

Vonleh dropped in the first two buckets of the second half to push her team's lead to 41-32 after 40 seconds, but the Purple Knights responded with the next 18 points in 6:03, as they held the Hawks to 0-of-5 shooting with three turnovers. In the meantime, the hosts shot 8-of-12, and Burud notched seven of her points in that stretch. A pair of Duarte free throws in the final five seconds left Saint Michael's up 52-45 heading into the fourth quarter.

In the final stanza, the Hawks created a one-possession game four times, including as Abela buried a three-pointer at the one-minute mark to make it 60-58. Saint Michael's missed a pair of shots on its next possession, but the Hawks were off on a go-ahead three-point attempt at 19 seconds, and Gaudreau grabbed the rebound. Evora's two free throws at 10.2 ticks were met by Andrews' jumper at 4.3, and Bennett was fouled before the ensuing inbound pass. She went 1-for-2 on her trip the charity stripe to push the margin to three points, but Saint Anselm was unable to circulate the ball to an open player for a tying three-point attempt before the buzzer sounded.

Burud, Delaney and sophomore Leah Spencer (Brockton, Mass./Archbishop Williams) dropped home two-point baskets to give Saint Michael's a 6-0 lead within the first two minutes of the game, but an 18-2 run that stretched into the second quarter put the visitors up by a 22-12 count with 7:35 to go in the half. Evora scored the next five points to halve the deficit, and Blanch's jumper with 3:36 left made it 28-25. Saint Anselm pushed its advantage back to 10 with a little more than two minutes left, but Gaudreau buried a three and Evora hit a pair of free throws at 30 seconds, and the hosts trailed 37-32 at halftime. The Purple Knights shot 66.7 percent in the second quarter.

The Purple Knights head to No. 11 Bentley University on Wednesday for a 5:30 p.m. contest. The Falcons' national ranking is according to this week's D2SIDA National Media Poll.