SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - In a matchup between second-place teams, the Saint Michael's College women's basketball team fell to American International College, 71-44, on Saturday at Butova Gymnasium in Northeast-10 Conference play. The Purple Knights, who were receiving votes toward this week's D2SIDA East Region Media Poll, moved to 10-9 overall and 8-6 in the league after entering the day tied for second in the NE10 Northeast Division. They're now tied for third. The Yellow Jackets are 14-8 and 9-5 as the second-place squad in the Southwest Division.
Junior Leah Spencer (Brockton, Mass./Archbishop Williams) collected 15 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block for Saint Michael's, moving into the program's all-time top 40 in scoring with 676 career points. Sophomore Emily Ferreri (Hyde Park, N.Y./Our Lady of Lourdes) had 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting with two assists, and junior Tomi Akinpetide (Sydney, Australia/Rice Memorial) turned in 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting with three steals and two blocks. Sophomore Samantha Delaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) and junior Maddy Bennett (Montpelier, Vt./U-32) corralled nine and seven rebounds, respectively. First-year Brianna Purcell (Bedford, N.H./Bedford) picked up two steals.
Sophomore Dana Watts, the league's leading scorer and rebounder, totaled 35 points on 16-of-25 shooting with 15 rebounds. She is also Division II's second-leading scorer. First-year Nadia Wooten posted 10 points and seven rebounds as the only other AIC player in double figures.
Watts scored the first seven points of the game before Bennett and Spencer split four points, but Watts sandwiched a lay-up on either side of two Akinpetide free throws to conclude the stanza with the Yellow Jackets in front 11-6. Watts had all the points. Ferreri twice dropped home buckets to trim her team's deficit to three within the opening 1:56 of the second period, but AIC responded with a 7-1 run behind five points from first-year Rashana Siders. Spencer drained a three-pointer to create a 20-14 margin at 5:56, but Watts and senior Imani Stepney each had four points in an 8-2 run, and the hosts led 30-19 at halftime.
Saint Michael's trailed by as many as 14 points early in the third quarter before Spencer's free throw trimmed the hole to 39-31 at 4:41, but AIC turned in a 19-7 run behind nine points from Watts. The Purple Knights never trailed by fewer than 14 points from there.
The Purple Knights close out their regular-season slate with seven contests against NE10 Northeast Division counterparts, beginning on Wednesday when they host Merrimack College at 5:30 p.m.