WARRIORS CATCH FIRE LATE, PICK UP 4TH STRAIGHT WIN VS. DEACONS
Links: Box Score
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Trailing by six at the break and through the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Merrimack College women's basketball team used a late run to take an insurmountable 10-point lead and held on from there on out, as the Warriors closed out the first half of the year with an impressive 65-56 victory over Bloomfield on Sunday afternoon at Hammel Court.
Score: Merrimack 65, Bloomfield 56
Records: Merrimack (7-5) | Bloomfield (7-5)
Location: Hammel Court | North Andover, Mass.
How It Happened
In a game that proved to be a defensive struggle through most of the match, both sides combined for only 56 points in the first half alone before the Warriors went into the locker room trailing by six (31-25).
The Warriors' defense in the second half was the deciding factor in the game, as the Deacons were held to only 28.6 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes, including 2-of-10 from behind the arc. The Warriors also forced eight second-half turnovers and 20 total for the game.
Staying true to what has been the theme of the season for the Warriors, the home side spread the wealth on the offensive side of the ball, as four Warriors scored in double figures. Junior guard Chloe Rothman (Newton, Mass.) finished with 17 points, two rebounds, and four assists. Senior Shelby Secor (Antioch, Calif.) and sophomore Ashley Weissmann (Highland, Calif.) both chipped in 14 points apiece, while Secor also finished with seven rebounds and an assist. Junior Aria Johnson (Los Osos, Calif.) finished with 11 points and seven rebounds.
Bloomfield opened up the game with an early 4-2 lead but after a made layup from Johnson, Merrimack tied the Deacons at 4-all. With the momentum on the Warriors' side, Rothman extended the lead to eight (12-4) after two made free throws with 14:19 left to play in the half.
The Deacons rallied back on a 5-0 run to cut the Warriors' lead to one (14-13) after a free throw from Castro. However, Secor answered right back for Merrimack with two made free-throws to bring the score to 16-13 with 7:38 on the clock.
With 3:38 left to play in the first, Bloomfield edged ahead thanks to seven straight points capped by a layup from Nakaida Thomas to push the visitors up, 25-18. The Warriors battled back to within four (26-22), but the Deacons ended the half on a 5-3 run to send the visitors into the locker room with a 31-25 advantage.
Heading into the second half, the Warriors drew within six (43-37) with 13:23 to go on a Rothman free throw, but the Deacons' defense clamped down for the next five minutes. Merrimack was undeterred and eventually tied the match at at 52-52 following a made layup from Secor.
Over the ensuing six minutes, the Warriors employed a 9-0 run that proved to be the difference in the game, as the Navy and Gold powered ahead to a 61-52 lead. Weissmannn extended Merrimack's edge to 10 with just over a minute left, as she drained a 3-pointer to put the Warriors ahead for good.
The Deacons were led offensively by Ivettlis Castro and Tianna Smith with 11 points each. Castro finished with four assists and two rebounds while Smith chipped in two assists. Tierra Scott played well and collected a team-high 13 rebounds and eight points.
A Closer Look
- For the game, Merrimack shot 42.3 percent from the floor while they held the Lions to 33.3 percent.
- Freshman guard Tia Scott (New York, N.Y.) posted a career-high nine assists.
- The Warriors edged the Deacons in the points in the paint category by the score of 28-26 while scoring 19 points on Deacons turnovers.
- The Merrimack bench was outscored 10-9 and the Deacons posted 12 second chance points on the afternoon.
- Merrimack lost the rebounding battle, as Bloomfield finished with a 40-35 edge in boards.
Next up, the Warriors return to action on Wednesday, Jan. 8, when they travel to Pleasantville, N.Y., to face Pace in Northeast-10 Conference action. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.