ROCHESTER, N.Y. - The Saint Michael's College women's basketball team overcame a 21-point deficit to lead for much of the second half before falling at Roberts Wesleyan (N.Y.) College, 72-64, on Saturday in the Voller Athletic Center. The Purple Knights saw their three-game winning streak end in slipping to 6-6, while the Redhawks, the 2016 National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) national champions, are 8-5.
Saint Michael's finished up a trip to western New York during which it played twice in less than 24 hours, taking on Roberts Wesleyan for just the second time, and the first since a victory on Nov. 23, 2002. Junior Leah Spencer (Brockton, Mass./Archbishop Williams) scored 24 points, finishing with 53 for the weekend road trip, while adding two steals. Senior Indira Evora (Somerville, Mass./Somerville) and sophomore Samantha Delaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) both collected 16 points, with Evora shooting 4-of-9 from three-point range with eight rebounds and five assists, and Delaney pulling eight boards and blocking two shots.
Junior Tomi Akinpetide (Sydney, Australia/Rice Memorial) posted six rebounds, four helpers and three steals, while first-year Brianna Purcell (Bedford, N.H./Bedford) added four rebounds and two assists. The Purple Knights shot 4-of-4 on free throws to the Redhawks' 16-of-20 performance.
Junior Brooke Fields led Roberts Wesleyan with 22 points off the bench, shooting 7-of-13, and first-year Taya Andrews had 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Classmate Emily Miller added 13 points, 12 rebounds and three steals.
Spencer's jumper put the Purple Knights up 6-5 at 6:21 of the opening quarter before the third lead change in four minutes occurred when the Redhawks embarked on a 28-6 run that took 9:33 to elapse. The hosts led 33-12 on Miller's jumper at 6:27 of the second period, as Fields and first-year Sara Nady scored seven points apiece in the big run, while the visitors were held to 3-of-16 shooting.
Saint Michael's responded by holding Roberts Wesleyan without a basket for the next 10:42, utilizing a 27-2 run to forge ahead early in the third quarter. Evora hit three threes in the stretch, she and Purcell both dished off two assists, and Delaney and Spencer each netted eight points. The Purple Knights began the run with 16 straight points before Spencer's lay-up at 8:46 put the visitors back in front, and her three-pointer at 6:19 made it 42-37.
Andrews scored five points in a 6-0 Redhawk response, but the Purple and Gold ended the third stanza with a 12-5 flourish to lead 54-48. Evora had five of the points. Four straight points from Delaney kept Saint Michael's up 58-52 with 8:08 left in regulation, but Roberts Wesleyan put together an 18-4 run to take the lead and pull away. Andrews' lay-in at 5:10 capped a go-ahead 7-0 run, but Spencer's pair of free throws 23 seconds later pushed the visitors back in front. Four quick Redhawk points were met by Akinpetide's jumper at 3:30 that allowed the Purple Knights to creep within 63-62, but Roberts Wesleyan scored the next nine points around four missed visitor shots.
The Purple Knights return home on Wednesday to take on Southern Connecticut State University at 5:30 p.m.