Women's basketball pulls away in second half for victory over Franklin Pierce

Women's basketball pulls away in second half for victory over Franklin Pierce

COLCHESTER, Vt. - Behind 63.0 percent second-half shooting, the Saint Michael's College women's basketball team pulled out of a halftime tie and emerged with a 69-53 victory over Franklin Pierce University on Wednesday in the Ross Sports Center. During both teams' Northeast-10 Conference openers, each squad moved to 1-2 overall on the season, as Saint Michael's won its league opener for the first time since 2010-11.

Sophomore Emily Ferreri (Hyde Park, N.Y./Our Lady of Lourdes) notched 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting to go along with seven assists, five steals, four rebounds and a block for the hosts, totaling career highs in points, assists and steals. Junior Leah Spencer (Brockton, Mass./Archbishop Williams) had a game-high 17 points while tacking on five assists and four boards.

Sophomore Samantha Delaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) neared a double-double with nine points and eight rebounds, shooting 4-of-7. Off the bench, junior Maddy Bennett (Montpelier, Vt./U-32) had seven points and six rebounds. As a team, the Purple Knights assisted 19 of 27 field goals while forcing 20 turnovers. They also went 4-of-12 from three-point range and held the Ravens to a 2-of-13 showing.

Senior Dana Campbell provided 16 points and six rebounds for the visitors, and first-year Cameryn Wilson added 10 points. Senior Alison Palma had eight points and 10 rebounds.

Palma scored four early points to give Franklin Pierce a 4-2 edge 48 seconds into the game, but the Purple Knights responded with the next 12 points in a matter of 1:46, with Ferreri netting the final five. After the Ravens chipped the deficit to six, Saint Michael's pushed its lead back to double figures and led 22-14 at the end of one quarter on the strength of 61.2 percent shooting.

Consecutive three-point plays by Ferreri and Bennett extended the Purple Knights' advantage to 13, and the hosts still led 30-17 with 4:45 remaining before halftime on first-year Brianna Purcell's (Bedford, N.H./Bedford) two free throws. However, Franklin Pierce netted the final 13 points of the stanza on 6-of-10 shooting. Six players scored in that stretch, as the hosts missed their last eight shots, with Wilson hitting the tying floater in the lane with nine seconds left to send the teams into the intermission tied at 30.

Sophomore Sarah Middleton scored the opening basket of the second half after nine seconds, making it 32-30, but Saint Michael's countered with a 10-2 stretch, going ahead for good on senior Indira Evora's (Somerville, Mass./Somerville) three-pointer at 9:30. After Campbell knocked down a triple to trim the deficit to 44-42 with 4:17 left, the Purple Knights netted 10 of the next 12 points, as five players tallied in the run. Up 54-44 42 seconds into the fourth quarter on Delaney's jumper, the hosts never again led by fewer than seven points, as Ferreri had five points during a 9-0 run that extended the lead to 18 with a little less than a minute remaining.

The Purple Knights visit Assumption College on Saturday at 1 p.m.