Saint Michael’s Slips Past Women's Basketball, 79-73

Senior Paige Marshall posted a career-high 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting this afternoon. (PHOTO BY Eamonn Grealish)

Spencer leads Purple Knights with double-double off the bench 

EASTON, Mass. (December 5, 2015) – Saint Michael's College slipped past Stonehill College, ranked fifth in this week's D2SIDA East Regional poll, in the fourth quarter to claim a 79-73 victory in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action on Paula Sullivan Court at Merkert Gymnasium this afternoon.

Sophomore Leah Spencer (Brockton, Massachusetts/Archbishop Williams) paced Saint Michael's with a double-double as she scored 17 of her team-high 21 points in the second half to go along with a game-high 14 rebounds (five offensive) as she made 7-of-12 shots from the field and the free-throw line. Junior Indira Evora (Somerville, Massachusetts/Somerville) added 19 points on 6-of-14 shooting, including 3-for-7 from three-point distance, converting all four free-throws, while senior Makenzie Burud (Red Hook, New York/Coleman Catholic) contributed 17 points, eight boards, two assists and three steals. Senior Megan Gaudreau (Brooklyn, Connecticut/Pomfret School) rounded out the Purple Knights double-figure scorers with 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting, including 3-for-6 from three-point range, and three assists.

Senior Paige Marshall (Braintree, Massachusetts/Braintree) scored 18 of her career and game-high 23 points in the first half, connecting on 8-of-13 shots from the floor, including 3-for-4 from three-point range, and converting all four free-throws with six rebounds. Sophomore Samantha Hyslip (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy) contributed her first double-double of the season with a career-best 18 points and a game-high ten rebounds with two assists and three blocked shots, shooting 7-for-9 from the floor. Junior Kelly Martin (Scituate, Massachusetts/Scituate) added 15 points, six boards, five assists and two steals, while freshman Maty Diabate (Holden, Massachusetts/Wachusett Regional) chipped in nine points on 4-of-7 shooting and four rebounds.

Sophomore Samantha Hyslip notched her first double-double of the season. (PHOTO BY Eamonn Grealish)

Saint Michael's shot 42.4-percent from the field (28-for-66), including 48.4% (15-31) in the second half, connecting on 6-of-17 three-pointers (35.3%). The Purple Knights made 6-of-13 threes (46.2%) in the first half and outscored Stonehill 10-0 for second chance points in the first half to stay in the game while the Skyhawks were shooting at a 61.9% (13-for-21) clip from the field in the opening half, including 3-for-5 (60%) from beyond the arc, and converting all nine free-throws. Stonehill finished shooting 45-percent (27-60) overall, including 5-for-19 (26.3%) from long distance, after making just 35.9% (14-39) of its shots in the second half, including 2-for-14 (14.3%) from deep, and going 5-for-10 (50%) at the line. Rebounds finished even at 40-40 and the Skyhawks turned the ball over 18 times, with Saint Michael's outscoring the hosts 12-2 in points off turnovers in the second half.

Stonehill scored the first eight points of the game, keyed by three-pointers from Martin and Marshall, but Saint Michael's closed back within two (12-10) after a Gaudreau three midway through the opening quarter. The Skyhawks lead was three at the first break and they extended it to six (27-21) with 4:12 to play in the second quarter after a jumper by freshman Nicole Rojas (Cromwell, Connecticut/Cromwell). Stonehill took a four point lead into the locker room at halftime (38-34), capped by a Diabate layup after Saint Michael's had cut its deficit to two on an Evora three-pointer on the previous possession.

Stonehill quickly pushed its lead back to eight (42-34) with two straight baskets by Hyslip to open the third quarter. Saint Michael's wouldn't let the lead grow any further and cut the gap to a point (44-43) on a Gaudreau layup with 6:12 to play in the third. The Skyhawks restored a six point cushion (54-48) on a three-point play from Martin two minutes later, but the Purple Knights closed the gap again, knotting the score for the first time since the opening tip (57-57) on two Spencer free-throws with 1:30 on the clock.

Stonehill took a one point lead (59-58) into the fourth quarter, but would shoot just 6-of-20 (30%) over the final quarter to see the lead slip away. The Skyhawks led by two (60-58) a minute into the final stanza when Saint Michael's scored five straight points, capped by a three-point play from Evora, to take its first lead of the afternoon (63-60). Hyslip answered with a basket for Stonehill, but the Purple Knights stretched the lead to five (67-62) on a Burud layup with six minutes remaining.

Saint Michael's lead extended to seven (71-64) after a Burud layup with 2:10 on the clock, but Marshall drained a three-pointer to cut the gap to four with two minutes remaining. That would be as close as the Skyhawks would get the rest of the way as the Purple Knights did enough at the line (6-of-8 during a key stretch) to seal their first NE-10 win of the season.

Stonehill (5-3, 2-3 NE-10) is off until next Saturday when it visits Southern New Hampshire University, ranked seventh in the region for an NE-10 matchup at 1:30 p.m. The Skyhawks don't return home until Wednesday, December 30, when they host Bloomfield College for a non-conference contest here at Merkert Gym at 6 p.m. Saint Michael's (3-5, 1-4 NE-10) hosts Bentley University next Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

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