Women's basketball rallies past Stonehill, 77-69, during season finale

Women's basketball rallies past Stonehill, 77-69, during season finale

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's basketball team rallied from 11 points down by outscoring Stonehill College by 18 points in the middle quarters before holding on for a 77-69 victory in its season finale on Tuesday at the Ross Sports Center. The Purple Knights ended the year 9-17 overall and 5-16 in the Northeast-10 Conference, sweeping a season series from the Skyhawks for the first time in 25 years, while Stonehill is 14-13 and 9-12.

Four players reached double figures for the Purple and Gold, which is 3-3 in its last six games with the Skyhawks, matching its win total from the prior 41 meetings. In her 100th and last career game, senior Makenzie Burud (Red Hook, N.Y./Coleman Catholic) led all scorers with 22 points on 8-of-14 field goal shooting and a 6-of-7 effort from the foul line. She added nine rebounds, four offensive boards, four steals and two assists in her 10th career 20-point game, and fifth of 2015-16.

Senior Megan Gaudreau (Brooklyn, Conn./Pomfret School) and junior Indira Evora (Somerville, Mass./Somerville) both tacked on 15 points, with Gaudreau scoring all of her points in the second half. She canned three three-pointers and handed out three assists during the contest while Evora came up with two steals. First-year Samantha Delaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) had 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting while grabbing nine rebounds, including five on the offensive end. Sophomore Leah Spencer (Brockton, Mass./Archbishop Williams) dished off three helpers.

The Purple Knights shot 53.3 percent in the second half to the Skyhawks' 41.0 percent while connecting on 16-of-19 free throws in the contest to the visitors' 2-of-4 showing. The hosts held a 40-33 advantage in rebounding, including 16-11 on the offensive glass, which led to a critical 23-5 lead in second-chance points.

Junior Kelly Martin had a strong all-around game for Stonehill with 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting with nine assists and seven rebounds. Senior Shannon Brown netted 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting, while three players scored eight points. The loss was only the Skyhawks' fourth in 13 games away from home this winter.

Down 10 with a little more than five minutes remaining in the second quarter, Saint Michael's embarked on a 26-8 run that bridged halftime. A three-pointer at the four-minute mark by Evora and her subsequent steal and breakaway lay-up 19 seconds later produced a 30-27 score, and Delaney's three-point play with 30 ticks left made it 32-30 in favor of Stonehill at halftime. Thanks to shooting 56.3 percent and committing no turnovers during the quarter, Saint Michael's charged ahead in the third period, with Gaudreau kicking off an 11-0 run to start the second half by scoring the first seven points in 59 seconds. The next four points came from Delaney, and Gaudreau countered a Skyhawk basket with a three-pointer that created a 44-36 margin with 4:03 left.

The Purple Knights gradually built their advantage to double digits, with a 7-1 spurt in the fourth quarter giving them a 63-48 advantage, as Evora netted the first five points before Burud capped it with a lay-in at 6:47. It took Stonehill only 2:44 to score the next 11 points, with the first nine coming from Martin, and sophomore Courtney Walsh's three with 3:03 to go brought the visitors within 65-62. However, they were never able to possess with a chance to tie. Burud and senior Paige Marshall traded buckets before Gaudreau's three pushed the lead to 70-64 with 1:31 remaining. Martin's jumper 14 seconds later was met by a pair of Burud free throws, and Stonehill never again came closer than six points. The hosts shot 7-of-8 on freebies in the final 46.1 seconds.

Stonehill pushed its edge to seven points by the time 4:36 had elapsed in the contest, leading 11-4 on Martin's lay-in, before the visitors countered hoops by Burud and first-year Emily Ferreri (Hyde Park, N.Y./Our Lady of Lourdes) with a 6-0 run that made it 17-8. The Skyhawks pushed their advantage to 11 on a pair of occasions prior to the end of the quarter before Delaney's putback just before the buzzer sent the Purple Knights into the first break down 23-14. Back-to-back baskets by Evora and Burud to begin the second frame cut the deficit to five before Martin hit a three and sophomore Samantha Hyslip dropped in a lay-up to produce a 28-18 advantage for the visitors with 5:30 remaining.

Burud finished her career eighth in program history in points (1,233) and seventh in rebounds (749), passing Kathy King '89 (1,220) and Kathy Stubbing '87 (743) on those respective lists tonight. One of only four players in school history with 1,200 points and 745 rebounds, she also ended up seventh in free throws (258), scoring average (12.3) and rebounding (7.5), and tied for ninth in field goals (464). Her 254 rebounds this season were the most by a Purple Knight since Liz LeFebvre '03 had 291 in 2002-03, and tied LeFebvre's 2001-02 total for 10th in program history. Gaudreau ended up fourth in career threes (181), and her 61 triples this winter tie Jes Hambley '03 for the fifth-highest showing in school history. She is just the fifth Purple Knight with 60 in a season.

During the evening, Evora reached the 800-point plateau for her career, heading into her final campaign with exactly 800, and passed Holly Reeves '06 (88) to take over 13th in school annals in career three-pointers (89). With 34 blocks this season, Delaney is already tied for 20th in program history for a career. Her total was the second-highest ever among Purple Knight rookies, trailing only Kelly Borch's '99 47 in 1995-96.