MANCHESTER, N.H. - The Saint Michael's College women's basketball team snapped a three-game losing streak while improving to 3-1 all time on national television with a 77-72 victory at Southern New Hampshire University on Saturday in SNHU Fieldhouse. The Purple Knights moved to 4-5 overall and 4-3 in the Northeast-10 Conference, coming within one league victory of their 2015-16 total, while the Penmen are 4-6 and 2-4.
Saint Michael's is now 5-1 in its last six games with Southern New Hampshire, while seven of the past nine have been decided by eight points or fewer. The Purple and Gold picked up just its second win in the last six visits to SNHU Fieldhouse, as today's game was broadcast live on NESNplus and NESN National. The Purple Knights won two televised games in 2014-15 before losing in its only TV game last season, at Southern New Hampshire.
In her team's final NE10 contest until Jan. 4, sophomore Emily Ferreri (Hyde Park, N.Y./Our Lady of Lourdes) notched a career-high 23 points, shooting 10-of-15 from the field and 3-of-3 on free throws, while adding five assists. Classmate Samantha Delaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) had 16 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks, matching her career high in boards while claiming her second double-double of the season. Senior Indira Evora (Somerville, Mass./Somerville) notched 16 points, five rebounds and three steals, and junior Leah Spencer (Brockton, Mass./Archbishop Williams) had 14 points, five boards, three helpers and two steals.
Saint Michael's committed only seven turnovers while forcing 14, parlaying that into a 22-5 advantage in points off of giveaways. The visitors also outscored their opponents 52-38 in the paint and shot 48.5 percent from the floor to the Penmen's 38.6 percent. The Purple Knights held large advantages in steals (9-4) and blocks (4-1).
Sophomore Kylie Lorenzen paced Southern New Hampshire with 22 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, hitting all eight free throw tries, while junior Olivia Conrad totaled 21 points and nine boards. Sophomore Brianna Camara was also in double figures at 10 points while adding four helpers. Senior Sara Ryan dished five assists. After starting the game 6-of-8 from beyond the arc, the Penmen missed their final 12 three-point attempts.
Southern New Hampshire led 5-2 on Camara's three-pointer 1:24 into the opening quarter before the Purple Knights countered with a 13-2 stretch, as Ferreri netted six of the points, including final four. The visitors were shooting 7-of-8 by the time Ferreri cut to the hoop for a bucket that made it 15-7 with 5:22 to go. First-year Molly Terry and Camara nailed threes on the next two Penmen possessions, but a 7-0 run by Saint Michael's featured five points by Evora, as she banked in a triple to push the advantage to 22-13 with 1:26 left.
However, senior Sara Ryan and Terry hit treys of their own prior to the final buzzer and concluded an 11-0 run that carried into the second quarter when junior Catherine Stinson hit a three from the corner 43 seconds into the period. That matched the largest lead by either team in a back-and-forth stanza, which saw nine ties. Seven different Purple Knights scored in the period, with Delaney dropping home a lefty bucket in the final two seconds to give Saint Michael's a 42-40 halftime lead after Ferreri's baseline drive and dish.
Sophomore Aaliyah Paxton's jumper made it 46-45 for the Penmen at 6:01 of the third quarter for the hosts' first lead of the second half, but Evora hit a long jumper from the left corner before Ferreri crossed over and banked a bucket home from the paint at 4:29 to put the visitors up 49-46 for the largest lead by either team since the early moments of the second period. Lorenzen had four points in a 6-1 run that put Southern New Hampshire up 52-50, but the visitors countered with a 6-1 stretch, as Delaney and Ferreri split the scoring, and they led 56-53 after the quarter.
The run extended to 11-3 when Evora played a hand in five straight quick points, coming up with a steal and sending Spencer on a breakaway, where she was fouled and hit her free throw, before Evora knocked down a long two to push the lead to 61-55 at 7:58 of the final period. Ferreri's bucket in the paint kept it a six-point game at 7:16, but Conrad scored the next six points to tie the contest with 4:46 remaining. After the media timeout, Spencer played a role in every point during a quick 6-0 spurt, scoring the first four - the second after she stole an inbound pass and went three quarters of the court - and dishing to a cutting Ferreri with 3:18 to go.
Ferreri's drive through the lane kept it a six-point edge, at 71-65 with 1:28 left before Conrad converted a three-point play 12 seconds later, but Ferreri found Delaney for a jumper in traffic at 49.3 seconds and Evora canned two freebies at 30.8 to push the lead to seven. Lorenzen hit four free throws around a pair of Purple Knight misses from the charity stripe, bringing the Penmen within 75-72 at 12.6 ticks, but Ferreri knocked down two free throws 0.9 seconds later, and junior Tomi Akinpetide (Sydney, Australia/Rice Memorial) secured the rebound of a Southern New Hampshire player's miss and Spencer ran out the clock.
Saint Michael's returns home next Saturday to face Felician (N.J.) University at 1 p.m.