NORTH ANDOVER, MA – The Merrimack women's basketball team picked up their third non conference victory of the season on Saturday afternoon at Bert Hammel Court as they defeated the Molloy Lions by the score of 57-42. Senior captain Kelly Schatzlein (Tolland, CT) picked up her fourth double-double of the season as she finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds in the victory.
Merrimack (7-2, 4-2 NE-10) will stay at home for one more non conference matchup on Wednesday, December 19 as they will take on St. Thomas Aquinas at 5 p.m.
Merrimack received spread out scoring once again as three Warriors scored in double figures. Schatzlein led the team with 12 while fellow senior Katie Ganser (Needham, Mass.) finished with 11 points and a season-high nine rebounds and junior transfer Shelby Secor (Antioch, Calif.) chipped in with 10 points and five boards. Starting in her first career game, freshman Ashley Weissmann (Highland, Calif.) played a career-high 28 minutes and finished with seven points and a career-high seven rebounds for the Warriors. Sophomore Chloe Rothman (Newton, Mass.) continued her solid point guard play, scoring eight points, dishing out a game-high seven assists and grabbing four boards.
The Warriors defense in the second half was deciding factor in the game as the Lions were held to 26.7 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes, including 2-10 from behind the arc. The Warriors also forced 10 second half turnovers and 19 total for the game. Merrimack improves to 6-0 on the season when forcing more turnovers than their opponents.
Merrimack opened up the game quick as they led 6-1 after three consecutive layups. Their lead jumped to eight less than two minutes later as Allison Wagner (Center Conway, NH) came into the game and drained a three pointer after a nice assist from Rothman.
After the visitors cut the lead to two at the 11 minute mark of the first half, Merrimack went on a 19-10 run to end the half up 32-21. A Schatzlein layup with just over a minute remaining gave the Warriors their biggest lead of the half at 15 after a pass from Rothman led her right to the bucket.
Merrimack shot 37.1 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes while the Lions shot 30.8 percent.
Merrimack started the second half cold offensively as they only had one bucket, a Secor layup, in the opening nine minutes of the half allowing the Lions to get back in the game and cut the halftime deficit to four.
The Warriors wasted no time getting their lead back up to double digits as Secor recorded two more layups and Ganser connected on one of her own, giving Merrimack the 40-30 lead. Rothman extended the lead to 13 just over a minute later as she drained a corner three pointer to put the Warriors ahead for good.
The Merrimack defense held strong to preserve their fifth double digit victory of the young season, forcing 19 turnovers. The Warriors have forced 19 plus turnovers in each of their last four games.
For the game, Merrimack shot 32.8 percent from the floor while they held the Lions to 28.6 percent. The Warriors also dominated the points in the paint category by the score of 32-14 while scoring 14 points on Lions turnovers.
The Merrimack bench was outscored 12-9 on the afternoon, marking only the second game all year the Warriors bench did not score more than their opponents. Merrimack is 2-0 when their opponents score more bench points.
The Lions were led offensively by Ashley Addison who scored a team-high 11 points inlcuidng three buckets from behind the arc. Nicole Arnone finished off her solid night with eight points and a team-high eight rebounds in the loss. Kelly Guerriero played well off the bench, scoring six points in 20 minutes of action.