Late fourth-quarter surge lifts women's basketball past Felician, 58-51

Late fourth-quarter surge lifts women's basketball past Felician, 58-51

COLCHESTER, Vt. - Junior Leah Spencer's (Brockton, Mass./Archbishop Williams) tie-breaking bucket with 4:59 remaining ignited an 11-2 run that boosted the Saint Michael's College women's basketball team past Felician (N.J.) University, 58-51, on Saturday in the Ross Sports Center. The Purple Knights improved to 5-5, winning for the fifth time in their last six home games, while the Golden Falcons are 2-10.

Sophomore Samantha Delaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) approached a double-double while posting 14 points, nine rebounds and a career-high-tying four blocks for the hosts, and Spencer and senior Indira Evora (Somerville, Mass./Somerville) both collected 12 points and four assists. Spencer, who went over the 500-point plateau in her team's previous game, added six rebounds, four of which were offensive. Junior Tomi Akinpetide (Sydney, Australia/Rice Memorial) had seven points and a career-high 10 rebounds, and sophomore Emily Ferreri (Hyde Park, N.Y./Our Lady of Lourdes) dished off six assists to just one turnover.

Saint Michael's picked up 14 assists on 19 hoops, with Evora, Ferreri and Spencer combining for all of the helpers, while attempting 22 free throws to Felician's 10. The visitors attempted and made one more field goal apiece, but the Purple Knights connected on 5-of-13 three-point tries to the Golden Falcons' 3-of-13. Saint Michael's improved to 3-0 in the all-time series, having swept a home-and-home set during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 school years, and is now 13-4 against current Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) schools.

During the contest, Evora became the 24th Purple Knight with 900 career points (903), while Delaney moved into 12th in school annals in blocks (50) through just 36 contests. She passed Erica Kensey '04 (47), Jevy Rayner '07 (47) and Kim Corbeil '85 (48) along the way and is just two shy of assistant coach Logan Pintka '11, who needed 106 games to register 52 rejections, for 11th place.

Junior Marya Trapp collected 14 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and two blocks for Felician, and redshirt sophomore Danelle Gibson had 14 points and four helpers, both playing all 40 minutes. No other Golden Falcon had more than six points, and no one else dished out an assist.

With Ferreri providing three assists in the opening 1:25, Saint Michael's led 8-0 by the time Spencer hit her second three-pointer, but Trapp had six points to lead a 10-0 Felician response. Evora's five straight points capped a 7-0 run that put the hosts up 15-10 with 2:40 left in the opening quarter, but seven straight points from the visitors made it 17-15, and Akinpetide's tying lay-in preceded Trapp's go-ahead free throw at 10 seconds that left the Golden Falcons in front 18-17 heading into the second period.

After yielding eight points during one 2:09 span late in the opening stanza, Saint Michael's allowed just seven in the ensuing 13:37. Down 23-20, the Purple Knights embarked on a 17-2 run that spanned halftime, as Evora's three knotted the contest at 4:36 of the second quarter before first-year Cassandra Falone (Chatham, N.J./Chatham) scored five points in her first two minutes off the bench. Delaney took care of the next eight points, and Spencer's freebie made it 37-25 at 7:49 of the third.

Still down 44-32 after Delaney's basket at 1:51, Felician accounted for 15 of the next 18 points, tying the score on Trapp's lay-in at 5:12 of the fourth quarter. Saint Michael's was held to only three free throws during that 7:23 stretch. Thirteen seconds after Trapp's basket, Spencer hit a go-ahead jumper from the middle of the paint, giving her team the lead for good, as the Golden Falcons were limited to a 0-for-7 shooting performance down the stretch, totaling their final four points on free throws. Delaney's basket at 2:03 pushed the edge to four, and the Purple Knights drew an offensive foul at 1:41 before Ferreri's lay-up 26 seconds later made it 53-47. Saint Michael's hit its last five free throw tries in the closing 43.3 seconds while Felician never possessed with a chance to tie.

The Purple Knights rest until heading to western New York for a pair of contests at the end of the month, taking on Daemen (N.Y.) College on Dec. 30 at 7 p.m. and Roberts Wesleyan (N.Y.) College, which is receiving votes toward the D2SIDA East Region Media Poll, on Dec. 31 at 1 p.m.