NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Merrimack College women's basketball team shot a season-best 50 percent from field, connecting on its most 3-pointers since November in the Warriors' 65-60 win on Tuesday night over Southern Connecticut State University from the Moore Field House. The victory increased Merrimack's season-long winning streak to four games, in a contest that the Warriors never trailed in.
Score: Merrimack 65, Southern Conn. 60
Records: Merrimack (8-7, 6-4 NE10) | Southern Conn. (6-10, 2-7 NE10)
Location: Moore Field House | New Haven, Conn.
The Turning Point:
After Southern Connecticut used a 13-3 run to start the fourth quarter and cut what once was a 16-point Merrimack lead to one, 52-51, the Warriors shut the door on the comeback attempt. Beginning at the 3:52 mark, Merrimack went on a 9-2 run that featured five points from sophomore Hannah Neild (Litchfield, N.H.) and four more from senior My'Asia Alston (Cohoes, N.Y.). Each player hit a 3-pointer during the stretch, with Neild's triple with 45 seconds left proving to be the game-winner.
How It Happened (First Quarter)
- Four different Warriors collected field goals as part of an 8-0 run to open the game. Freshman center Denia Davis-Stewart (Dorchester, Mass.) scored the game's first points on a jumper from inside the free-throw line and Neild capped the run with a lay-in at the 6:17 mark
- After four free throws from the Owls cut the lead in half, Merrimack responded with back-to-back 3-pointers from sophomores Lindsay Werner (Groton, Mass.) and Karlee Alves (Ellington, Conn.). SCSU responded with a triple of their own, making it a 14-7 game with under two minutes left in the first
- An old-fashioned 3-point play capped off a 6-2 Southern Connecticut run to end the quarter, as the Warriors led by six, 16-10, entering the second quarter
How It Happened (Second Quarter)
- The Navy and Gold started the second by making all three of their 3-pointers, featuring buckets from Alston, Neild and Werner. The final make gave Merrimack its largest lead to that point, 25-14, with 6:21 left in the half
- After the Owls used a spurt of six unanswered points to pull within five, sophomore Lexi Martin (Franklin, Mass.) ensured Merrimack entered halftime with a lead. The second-year wing scored six of the Warriors' final eight points of the quarter beginning with a lefty layup at the 2:47 mark. She leaned in for a 16-footer at the buzzer to stake the visitors to a 33-24 advantage after 20 minutes
How It Happened (Third Quarter)
- It was more of the same to start the third for the Warriors. Merrimack hit 4-of-6 from the field over the first 3:28 of the frame, including a quick 5-0 run the featured a triple from Alston and another basket from Martin. The Navy and Gold's held their largest lead to that point, 42-26, as the Owls were forced to use a full timeout
- The hosts absorbed the five straight points and answered with five unanswered of their own to make it a 42-31 game at the 4:48 mark. Martin continued her strong performance for another left-handed make, and converted the free throw after being fouled. Senior forward Savannah Johnson (Palmdale, Calif.) stepped outside for an 18-footer and it was back to a 16-point game
- The Owls used another quarter-ending run – this time of the 7-2 variety – to take momentum into the fourth quarter, facing an 11-point deficit at 49-38
How It Happened (Fourth Quarter)
- The Owls dominated the first half of the final quarter, using a 13-3 run of the first 5:02 to pull within a single point. Kiana Steinauer totaled eight points during the run, and as a team the Owls hit three 3-pointers
- Alston's triple tickled the twine with 2:44 remaining, marking the final points for the senior point guard's 16-point effort. Over the final 40 seconds, Alves and Neild hit all four of Merrimack's free-throw attempts, icing away the fourth consecutive win for the program.
Inside The Numbers
- Tuesday night's victory marked the fifth consecutive season the program, under sixth-year head coach Monique LeBlanc, has strung together a winning streak of at least four games. With the triumph against the Owls, LeBlanc moved within one win of 70 for her career
- Merrimack featured three players in double figures, with Alston, Martin and Neild combining for 44 points on the night. The Warriors shot 24-of-48 from the field, the best shooting percentage of the season for the Navy and Gold
- 3-point success: After not hitting more than six 3-pointers over their last eight games, the Warriors finished with eight makes from beyond the arc. The 40-percent clip (8-20) registered as Merrimack's third-best performance from deep this season
- Martin led the team in scoring for the third straight game, totaling 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting. She now has scored in double figures in three straight games, averaging 16.6 points per game during that stretch
- Alston extended her double-figure scoring streak to eight games by equaling Martin's output. The senior point guard entered the night as the Warriors' leading scoring at 10.9 ppg
Merrimack continues cross-divisional action and plays its fifth home game in the last six contests on Saturday when the Warriors host Le Moyne at 1 p.m. from Hammel Court.