January 19, 2013

Rothman Leads Women’s Hoops To Overtime Triumph At Southern Connecticut, 74-70

NEW HAVEN, CT – Behind a career-high 34 point effort from sophomore Chloe Rothman (Newton, Mass.), the Merrimack women's basketball team won their 11th game of the season on Saturday afternoon by the score of 74-70 at Southern Connecticut. Rothman scored 23 of her career-high 34 points in the second half of the Warriors come-from-behind victory.

The 34 point effort from Rothman is the second most points scored in a game in Merrimack team history, just two points back of the school record of 36 points which was posted by Gennifer Roy last season against New Haven.

Merrimack (11-4, 7-4 NE-10) will return to action Wednesday night at 5:30 p.m. as they will travel to take on Saint Rose.

"Today was a really gutsy win and I am really proud of our team" said head coach Monique LeBlanc. "I thought we did a great job of staying composed when Southern Connecticut made runs. We had a rough first half but we battled back and picked up a win against a good team."

Rothman finished off her impressive game going 12-25 from the floor including 5-12 from three point range and 5-5 from the free throw line. Rothman went 9-18 from the floor and 4-8 from three point range in the second half and overtime combined. Kelly Schatzlein (Tolland, CT) finished as the only other Warrior to score in double figures as she finished with 10 points and seven rebounds including five offensive boards in the win. Ashley Weissmann (Highland, Calif.), making just her second career start, closed out her game with eight points, five rebounds, a career-high four steals and three assists while Cassi Amenta (Lynn, Mass.) came off the bench and scored six points to go along with a team-high 11 rebounds.

With 25 seconds to play and trailing by three points, the Warriors looked to their hot hand to try and force the overtime period and that she did. Rothman took the inbound pass and with 16 seconds left drilled a one-footed three pointer to tie the score at 64. The Warriors played tight defense at the end and forced a missed layup from Mariah Hankton to head to overtime.

The Warriors pulled away in the overtime period outscoring the Owls by the score of 10-6.

The Owls jumped out to the quick 5-0 lead before Lyons nailed a contested jumper and Weissmann drilled a three pointer to level the score.

The Warriors went cold over the next seven minutes as the Owls went on a 15-6 run to extend their lead to nine. Two minutes later the Owls increased their lead to a first half high of 14 points, 29-15, as Katie Stopera converted on a jumper.

Merrimack closed out the half on a 12-5 run to head into the locker room trailing the owls 34-27 behind five points from Rothman in the final two minutes.

For the half, Merrimack shot only 39 percent from the floor including 2-10 from three point range. The Warriors forced 13 Owl turnovers while committing 11 of their own in the first half.

Rothman opened up the second half on fire from the field as she scored the first nine points for the Warriors and after a Weissmann free throw the Warriors cut their deficit to one, 38-37.

Just over a minute later, Rothman gave the Warriors their first lead of the second half as she converted on a four point play after draining her deep ball and drawing the foul. Merrimack stretched their second half lead to five at the 13:13 mark as Amenta converted on a contested layup in the lane.

Tia Scott (New York, NY)
pushed the Warriors lead to the largest of the game at six with just over five minutes remaining in the game but the Owls responded quickly with a 11-3 run that was finished off by a Katie Stopera free throw, giving Southern Connecticut the 64-61 advantage with 25 seconds to go.

After the Rothman three forced overtime, Merrimack dominated the overtime session as Jaclyn Lyons (Reading, Mass.) scored four of her eight points and Rothman chipped in with four to secure the win.

For the game, Merrimack shot 39.1 percent from the floor and 14-20 from the charity stripe. Defensively, Merrimack held the Owls to 37.3 percent from the floor and forced 25 turnovers for the second time this season.

The Owls were led offensively by Jackie Beathea who finished with 14 points and 11 boards while Moni Smith-Ocran had a monster game with 11 points and a game-high 18 rebounds.

Merrimack has now won three straight conference games for the first time in two seasons.