Women's basketball suffers first NE-10 loss, falls 58-50 at Merrimack

Women's basketball suffers first NE-10 loss, falls 58-50 at Merrimack

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - The Saint Michael's College women's basketball team suffered the first blemish to its Northeast-10 Conference record on Wednesday, losing at Merrimack College, 58-50, on Hammel Court. The Purple Knights, who came in tied for first in the NE-10 Northeast Division by winning their first three league games for the first time in nine years, are 3-3 overall and 3-1 in the NE-10. The Warriors moved to 3-4 and 2-1.

Sophomore Samantha Delaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) notched a game-high 14 points and seven rebounds to pace the visitors, going 4-of-4 on free throws, while the rest of her team made two freebies. Senior Indira Evora (Somerville, Mass./Somerville) scored all 11 of her points in the fourth quarter, shooting 3-of-6 from three-point range while tacking on five rebounds and two assists. Junior Tomi Akinpetide (Sydney, Australia/Rice Memorial) turned in seven points, classmate Leah Spencer (Brockton, Mass./Archbishop Williams) handed out five assists, and sophomore Emily Ferreri (Hyde Park, N.Y./Our Lady of Lourdes) had three assists and two steals.

During the contest, Evora pushed her career three-pointers total to 100, moving within one of Sue Cahill '90 (101) for 10th place in program history. She also upped her point figure to 857, taking over 25th in school annals while passing Kelly Borch '99 (848), Kathy Stubbing '87 (851) and Anne Marie McLoughlin '91 (852). She is one point shy of Lynne Liebhauser '94 (858) for 24th place.

The Purple Knights forced 20 turnovers while shooting 33.3 percent (4-of-12) from three-point range and limiting the hosts to a 25.0 percent (3-of-12) showing. Thirteen of the visitors' 20 baskets were assisted, while Merrimack got to the free throw line 17 times to the Purple and Gold's nine freebie tries.

Five Warriors scored between nine and 12 points, with sophomore Lindsay Werner netting a team high 12 off the bench. Senior My'Asia Alston totaled 10 points behind 6-of-6 free throw shooting, classmate Savannah Johnson had nine points, seven rebounds, six blocks and three steals, while sophomore Hannah Neild notched nine points and was 6-of-6 on freebies. Classmate Lexi Martin contributed eight points, eight rebounds and four helpers.

Martin scored four points while pushing Merrimack to an early 5-0 lead before the Purple Knights countered with a 10-2 run, as Delaney netted six points, capping the stretch on a jumper with 2:59 to go in the first period. A Werner three tied the score, and Delaney's lay-in at 1:24 gave her team a brief 12-10 lead before the squads were tied at 12 heading into the first break. Saint Michael's opened the second stanza on a 6-0 run, with Spencer scoring four points, and the visitors led 20-14 on first-year Brianna Purcell's (Bedford, N.H./Bedford) lay-up with 4:39 to go. However, Johnson and Martin scored four points each during a 12-3 response, and Werner hit a jumper with four seconds left to make it 26-23 in favor of the hosts at halftime.

The lead changed hands four times in the third quarter, as Merrimack scored the final five points to take a 38-34 advantage into the fourth. With her team still trailing 40-36, Evora scored eight points in a 10-2 run, including a go-ahead triple at 5:06 and a lay-in 57 seconds later. The Warriors netted 10 of the next 11 points, employing a 6-of-6 showing on free throws, to grab a 52-47 edge with 32 seconds to go. Evora nailed her third three of the quarter just three seconds later and, with the Purple Knights forced to foul, Alston made a pair of free throws to push the lead back to four. A Saint Michael's miss ensued, and the hosts closed out the contest with four more freebies, concluding the game with a 10-of-10 showing in the final 1:09.

The Purple Knights return home to face Stonehill College on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.