COLCHESTER, Vt. - Five Saint Michael's College women's basketball players reached double figures and the Purple Knights shot 7-of-9 from three-point range en route to a 71-53 victory over Southern Connecticut State University on Wednesday in Northeast-10 Conference play at the Ross Sports Center. The Purple Knights have won four of their last five to improve to 7-6 overall and 5-3 in the league, matching their 2015-16 NE10 win total in 13 fewer games. The Owls, who had won three of four, are 6-8 and 2-5.
Sophomore Samantha Delaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) totaled 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting with three blocks to pace the hosts. Junior Leah Spencer (Brockton, Mass./Archbishop Williams) had 14 points, nine rebounds and a career-high-tying six assists versus zero turnovers, while sophomore Emily Ferreri (Hyde Park, N.Y./Our Lady of Lourdes) collected 14 points, six rebounds, seven assists, five steals and two blocks. Both shot 2-of-2 on threes, while Ferreri matched her career bests in helpers and steals.
Junior Maddy Bennett (Montpelier, Vt./U-32) notched 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting, coming within two of her career high, while posting her highest scoring output in an NE10 outing. Senior Indira Evora (Somerville, Mass./Somerville) amassed 10 points, nine rebounds and three steals, knocking down 2-of-3 threes. The Purple Knights assisted 19 of 25 baskets while committing only 13 turnovers and forcing 19. While canning 7-of-9 threes, the Purple and Gold held the Owls to an 0-for-12 showing. Saint Michael's has won six of its last seven at home and has now claimed six consecutive meetings from Southern Connecticut State in the Ross Sports Center since 2008.
Evora climbed various career lists during the contest, matching Mary Kerins '93 for ninth in program history in threes (113), tying Jevy Rayner '07 for ninth in free throws (241), and improving her steal total to 187 while passing Sarah Ferland '99 and Tara Carriero '02 (186) for 11th. In her 39th career game, Delaney is tied for ninth at Saint Michael's with 58 blocks, matching Becky Tomsich '02 after passing Anna Florent '09 (57).
Seniors Taylor McLaughlin and Maria Weselyj combined for 39 of Southern Connecticut State's 53 points and 18 of its 23 field goals, as no other Owl had more than six points. McLaughlin finished with 20 points and 16 rebounds, while Weselyj netted 19 points.
Six points from Weselyj and four by McLaughlin staked the Owls to a 12-6 lead by the time 1:44 remained in the opening quarter, but Saint Michael's responded with a 30-9 run that carried over into the third quarter. During that 12:03 stretch, the Purple Knights shot 10-of-18, with Spencer leading five scorers with nine points and Ferreri chipping in seven. On the defensive side, Saint Michael's held the visitors to 2-of-17 shooting with 10 turnovers.
Weselyj nearly single-handedly carried Southern Connecticut State back into the game, scoring 11 points in a 15-5 run, and the visitors trailed just 45-40 on McLaughlin's jumper at 3:02 of the third quarter. Bennett countered with her fifth career three-pointer on the next possession, and the hosts pushed their advantage back to double figures at 54-44 on Ferreri's triple 18 seconds into the fourth stanza. The Owls cut their deficit to eight points three times in the opening 3:43, twice on McLaughlin buckets, but a 13-1 run that featured five scorers and the Purple Knights shooting 7-of-10 on free throws put the lead out of reach, as the hosts were up 20 on Ferreri's freebie at 28.0 seconds.
The Purple Knights host Adelphi University on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The Panthers are 16th in this week's D2SIDA National Media Poll and tied for first in the regional rankings.