NORTH ANDOVER, MA – The Merrimack women's basketball team improved to 6-1 at Hammel Court on Saturday afternoon after defeating the New Haven Chargers 92-74 in front of the home fans. Kelly Schatzlein (Tolland, CT) finished off her monster game with 16 points, 21 boards, a career-high six blocks and four assists in the win.
The 21 rebound effort by Schatzlein is the second most in her career as she racked up 22 boards at UMass Lowell on December 3, 2011.
Merrimack (9-4, 5-4 NE-10) will stay at home for a conference game with Le Moyne on Tuesday night starting at 5:30 p.m.
Ten Warriors scored at least two points in the victory and three Warriors broke double figures. Senior Jaclyn Lyons (Reading, Mass.) racked up a career-high 22 points on 8-11 from the floor and 5-6 from the free throw line in only 21 minutes of action while Chloe Rothman (Newton, Mass.) scored 18 points, dished out four assists and grabbed three boards and Schatzlein finished with 16. Off the bench Merrimack was led by a pair of freshman who combined for 14 points. Tia Scott (New York, NY) finished off her afternoon with seven points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals while Ashley Weissmann (Highland, Calif.) scored seven points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out two assists.
The Warriors scored a season-high 92 points on the afternoon including a season-high 58 first half points. Merrimack shot lights out in the opening 20 minutes of play as they finished the half shooting 59.4 percent from the floor, 4-9 from three point range and 16-24 from the charity stripe.
The key stretch of the game came with 8:02 to play in the opening half as the Chargers cut the Warriors lead to five points after two free throws. The Warriors responded by going on a 23-5 run over the next six minutes to push their lead out to 23 with two minutes to play. Rothman was huge during the stretch for Merrimack as she scored nine points including two three pointers and a three point play.
The Chargers started out fast jumping out to a four point lead after a Briana Bradford layup but the Warriors came back and overcame the early deficit to take the 24-18 lead with 10:56 to play in the first after a nice layup by Cassi Amenta (Lynn, Mass.).
Lyons extended the Warriors early lead to eight just over a minute later as she drained two, of her four, free throws. The Warriors then dominated the next six minutes to balloon their lead to 23.
Lyons closed out the scoring for the Warriors with 1:06 to play in the first as she sank a layup, giving Merrimack their biggest lead, 58-34, heading into the locker room.
For the half, Merrimack shot 59.4 percent from the floor, forced 12 turnovers and turned those turnovers into 21 points.
The second half went back and forth before Weissmann converted on back-to-back layups after grabbing a steal in the Chargers end of the court after some nice pressure defense. Weissmann extended the Merrimack lead to a game-high 29 points.
The Chargers tried to get back in the game by using a 15-2 run late in the second half but it was not enough as they were only able to come within 12 points of the Warriors big lead. The Warriors closed out their win on a 10-4 run to improve to 5-4 in conference play.
For the game, Merrimack shot 44.3 percent from the floor and went 26-38 from the free throw line while forcing 17 Chargers turnovers. The Warriors outscored the Chargers 46-36 inside the paint and 29-12 on points off turnovers.
Merrimack now is 8-0 when they commit less turnovers than their opponents and 7-2 when their bench outscores their opponents bench, 24-9 today against New Haven.
New Haven was led offensively by Bria Moore who finished with a team-high 18 points and five rebounds while Bradford scored 16 points and grabbed eight boards. Aquillin Hayes played well as she finished with 11 points and a team-high 11 rebounds in the game.
The Warriors have now won two straight against the Chargers and improve to 8-4 against them all-time.