NORTH ANDOVER, MA – The Merrimack women's basketball team was defeated on Tuesday night by the visiting Pace Setters by the score of 71-61. With the loss, Merrimack has dropped three straight games for the first time all season.
Merrimack (11-7, 7-7 NE-10) will hit the road for their next conference game on Saturday as they will travel to take on Assumption at 1:30 p.m.
"I was pleased with our defensive effort in the first half," said second year head coach Monique LeBlanc. "But in the second half we did not bring that same level to the defensive end. That, coupled with so many turnovers, really sealed our fate."
Kelly Schatzlein (Tolland, CT) led the way offensively for the Warriors with 20 points and 10 rebounds on 9-11 from the floor to go along with three assists and two steals. The 20 and 10 game for Schatzlein marks her eighth double-double of the season. Ashley Weissmann (Highland, Calif.) continued her strong play in the starting role as she finished with 12 points and three rebounds in 32 minutes while Jaclyn Lyons (Reading, Mass.) finished with 11 points and a team-high five assists. Melissa Miller (North Andover, Mass.) came off the bench and scored six points in only seven minutes of action for the home team.
The turning point in the game came in the second half as the Setters outscored the Warriors 20-6 from the 16:45 mark until the 8:02 mark. After taking the eight-point lead on a Schaztlein layup, the Setters raced back and took the lead at the 11:36 mark and never looked back.
The Warriors opened up the first half hot from the floor as they ran out to a 9-2 lead behind six points from Schatzlein and a contested three pointer from Chloe Rothman (Newton, Mass.). The Warriors held onto the lead until the 11:30 mark of the first half as Brittany Shields converted on a three point play to give the Setters the 14-13 lead.
Merrimack controlled the tempo the rest of the first half going up as much as seven points after a Lyons three pointer with 1:48 to play. Merrimack finished out the half with the 38-32 lead after shooting 66.7 percent from the floor and making 3-of-4 three's.
Schatzlein gave the Warriors the eight point advantage early in the second half but the Warriors allowed the visitors to go on a 20-6 run and take over control of the game.
The Warriors tried to inch their way back into the game with 7:43 to play in the game as Weissmann drilled a contested three pointer but the Setters did not allow Merrimack to get any closer, downing them 71-61.
After shooting 66.7 percent in the first half, a season-high, the Warriors closed the game shooting 47.9 percent while the visitors finished shooting 50 percent from the floor. The Warriors committed 21 turnovers which led to 21 points for the Setters while the Setters had 19 turnovers that led to only eight points for the home squad.
The Setters had three players score in double figures including Brittany Shields who finished with a game-high 25 points on 10-15 from the floor. Allison Cleary finished off her night with 15 points and six boards while Jessica Scannell scored 11 points and had five assists.