COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's basketball team led for much of the second half before falling to regionally-ranked Assumption College, 64-50, on Saturday in the Ross Sports Center during a key Northeast-10 Conference game. The Purple and Gold also celebrated Senior Day.
With one regular-season contest to go, the Purple Knights are 12-13 overall and 10-10 in the league, standing in a three-way tie for fourth place in the NE10 Northeast Division. Only five teams from each of the conference's two divisions qualify for the postseason. Saint Michael's visits Stonehill College at 5:30 p.m., as it currently is deadlocked with the Skyhawks and Merrimack College for fourth. The Greyhounds, who are seventh in the latest NCAA East Region rankings, improved to 18-7 and 13-7.
Sophomore Samantha Delaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) had 16 points to pace the hosts, shooting 7-of-12 with nine rebounds in 26 minutes, while classmate Emily Ferreri (Hyde Park, N.Y./Our Lady of Lourdes) turned in 14 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and two steals, snagging five boards on the offensive end and shooting 6-of-8 on free throws. Saint Michael's held a 46-37 edge on the glass, a 30-12 advantage on paint points, and limited Assumption to 28.8 percent shooting, but the visitors outgained the hosts, 27-14, at the charity stripe.
Junior Maddy Bennett (Montpelier, Vt./U-32) collected seven points, five rebounds and two assists as a reserve, classmate Tomi Akinpetide (Sydney, Australia/Rice Memorial) scored six points, and senior Indira Evora (Somerville, Mass./Somerville) pulled down five rebounds while adding two steals.
Senior Morgan O'Brien registered a game-high 19 points off the Assumption bench, shooting 4-of-7 from three-point range, and classmate Allison Stoddard had 18 points thanks to a 9-of-10 showing on freebies. Senior Jo Impellizeri pulled down 11 rebounds.
Akinpetide's bucket at 8:05 of the opening quarter forged a 2-2 knot before senior Jaclyn Storey posted four points in a 6-0 response for the visitors, and Assumption led by as many as 10 points on two occasions prior to the end of the half, including 20-10 at 7:27 of the second period. The Purple Knights soon twice trimmed their deficit to a single point, with a 12-3 run. Ferreri scored four points and lent an assist before Delaney had four points in 26 seconds to make it 23-22 with 2:50 left. The Greyhounds carried a 26-24 edge into halftime, being held to just six points in the final 7:26 of the period.
After senior Kelly Carey buried a three 32 seconds into the third period to push the visitors' lead to five, Saint Michael's countered with the next 12 points to go up 36-29 by 3:47. Delaney scored six straight points in the middle of the run, and the Purple Knights continued to lead until fewer than five minutes remained in regulation, as Bennett's lay-in off of Ferreri's feed at 6:30 of the fourth made it 46-40.
However, that proved to be the final points for Saint Michael's until one minute was left, as Assumption embarked on a 17-0 run that included a 9-of-10 free throw effort and a pair of threes. Ferreri's three-point play cut the deficit to 57-48 at the one-minute mark, but the Greyhounds wrapped seven freebies around a late Ferreri bucket to cap the game-ending 24-4 run over the final 5:59.
Akinpetide and Evora were honored during a ceremony prior to the final regular-season home game of their career. While using only her third year of eligibility, Akinpetide joins Evora as being a senior academically, and both are slated to graduate from the College in May.