Links: Box Score
COLCHESTER, Vt. – The Merrimack College women's basketball team made a triumphant return to Northeast Division action on Wednesday night, travelling to Saint Michael's College and defeating the Purple Knights, 43-38, from the Ross Sports Center. The victory gave Merrimack a sweep of the season series against Saint Michael's, moving the Warriors from sixth to fourth in the NE10 standings.
Score: Merrimack 43, Saint Michael's 38
Records: Merrimack (10-10, 8-7 NE10) | Saint Michael's (10-10, 8-7 NE10)
Location: Ross Sports Center | Colchester, Vt.
NE10 Postseason Outlook:
The top-five teams in the Northeast Division advance to the NE-10 Championship, with the fifth seed playing the fourth seed out of the Southwest in the opening round on Friday, Feb. 24. The Warriors have six games remaining, four of which are at home.
1) Bentley (14-1)
2) Assumption (9-6)
3) Saint Anselm (9-6)
4) Merrimack (8-7)
5) Stonehill (8-7)
6) Saint Michael's (8-7)
7) Southern New Hampshire (5-10)
8) Franklin Pierce (0-15)
How It Happened (First Quarter)
- For the first time since the middle of December, the Warriors switched up their starting lineup, inserting sophomore Hannah Neild (Litchfield, N.H.). Senior captain My'Asia Alston (Cohoes, N.Y.) came off the bench and scored seven unanswered points to break an early 2-2 tie, giving Merrimack a 9-2 lead five minutes into the game
- After Alston's second three of the quarter, Neild spotted up from the top of the key to increase the Warriors' lead to eight, 15-7, with 2:56 left. The Warriors held the Purple Knights scoreless over the final 3:12 of the frame, taking a 17-7 advantage into the second quarter
How It Happened (Second Quarter)
- Freshman Emily Houle (Attleboro, Mass.) came off the bench and drained just her third triple of the season. The Warriors' defense continued to dominate, limiting the Purple Knights to just two points through the first five minutes of the quarter
- Neild hit the Warriors' fourth triple of the night at the 3:52 mark to give the Navy and Gold their largest lead of the half at 23-9
- The Purple Knights finished the half with just 11 points, the fewest the Warriors have allowed in nearly two years in the opening stanza. Merrimack held Saint Michael's to 17.2 percent shooting (5-29) and forced the hosts to commit 13 turnovers.
How It Happened (Third Quarter)
- After the Warriors were held scoreless over the first 3:36 of the quarter, sophomores Lexi Martin (Franklin, Mass.) and Lindsay Werner (Groton, Mass.) came off the bench and made an immediate impact. The former curled off a screen to hit an 18-footer for the Warriors' first points of the frame, and the latter followed suit with a left-corner triple, transforming the lead to 11, 28-17, with 5:34 remaining
- After not attempting a shot in the first half, Werner contributed a pair of layups during a stretch that saw the Warriors convert on three consecutive possessions, increasing their lead to 35-23 with 3:07 left in the quarter. Merrimack finished the quarter with a 37-28 lead
How It Happened (Fourth Quarter)
- The Purple Knights scored four straight points to begin the fourth, cutting their deficit to five, 37-32. Samantha Delaney hit a layup in the post with 4:10 to play that made it a one-possession game, 39-36, but freshman Denia Davis-Stewart (Dorchester, Mass.) immediately answered on the other end to push the lead back to five
- After Delaney's bucket, the Warriors defense clamped down to hold the Purple Knights without a field goal until two seconds remained in the game. Neild hit a pair of free throws in the final minute to complete the scoring, as Merrimack won in Colchester for the second straight season
Inside The Numbers
- The 38 points allowed for the Warriors marked a season-best in conference play. Saint Michael's shot just 28.8 percent from the field on the evening, making 17-of-59 from the field and just 3-of-14 from beyond the arc
- Offensively, the Warriors played their best from distance, connecting on 7-of-13 from beyond the arc. The 53.8 percentage registered as a season high and tied for the best single-game mark since December of 2014
- Alston led the Warriors in scoring, finishing the night with 12 points and scoring in double figures for the 13th time this season. Neild also finished in double digits, contributing 11 of her own
- Merrimack's bench outscored the Purple Knights' by 20, 22-2, with Alston, Werner and Houle all chipping in as reserves.
- Davis-Stewart led all players in rebounds (8) and blocks (5), tying her season high in rejections in the process
The Warriors host Saint Anselm on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. on Hammel Court. The contest will be celebrated as Alumni Day, with Joelle Martin '06 set to be honored during a pregame ceremony for her recent induction into the NE10 Hall of Fame. Interested alumna of the program are register at the following link.