Women’s Basketball Pulls Out 70-64 OT Win Against Merrimack

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Senior Epiphany Smith (Springdale, Ark.) led four scorers in double figures with 25 points, and senior Megan Howard (St. Paul, Minn.) and junior Curran Leighton (Dover, N.H.) each recorded double-doubles as the Saint Anselm College women's basketball team posted a 70-64 overtime win against Merrimack College on Wednesday night at Stoutenburgh Gymnasium.

The Hawks snap a two-game skid and improve to 6-2 on the season, including 2-2 in Northeast-10 play. The Warriors drop to 1-5, 0-4.

Smith, who scored eight of her team's 12 points in the extra session, shot 7 of 14 from the floor and a career-best 10 of 10 at the free throw line as she filled the box score in 45 minutes with four assists, three steals, a rebound and a block. Howard notched her third double-double of the season and 38th of her career with 11 points and 10 boards, while Leighton netted 12 points and 11 boards for her first double-double of the season and second of her career. Leighton also recorded a career-high four steals. Sophomore Meg Morrissey (So. Kingstown, R.I.) added a season-high 10 points and matched a career high with six rebounds to go along with three assists and two steals.

With the game tied at 58 to start the overtime period, Smith and Howard made baskets on consecutive possessions to open up a four-point lead. Gennifer Roy hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to make it a one-point game at 62-61 with 2:25 left, but the Hawks scored six straight – bookended by two pairs of Smith free throws – to grab a 68-61 lead with 31 seconds left. Roy would knock down another trey to close the gap to four, but it was too little, too late, as Smith sank her final two free throws to close the scoring with 16 seconds remaining.

Merrimack led 8-4 to open the game before a 7-2 spurt that was capped by a Smith 3-pointer gave the Hawks their first lead of the night at 11-10 with 14:32 remaining in the opening half. The Warriors would go back on top by one on the ensuing possession, but a 7-0 run that was finished off with a Smith layup gave Saint Anselm an 18-12 advantage with 11:43 to play.

The Hawks took their largest lead of the game at 27-19 on a 3-pointer by sophomore Ashley Viselli (Groveland, Mass.) with 6:29 left and still led by seven with 1:14 to go before four straight points from Jaclyn Lyons closed the scoring and sliced the Saint Anselm lead to 32-29 heading into the break.

Merrimack stormed out of the locker room with a quick 7-2 run that put it in front, 36-34, just 2:46 into the second half. The Warriors' lead would climb as high as 45-41 with 11:28 remaining, but a 5-0 spurt that started with a three-point play from Smith gave the Hawks a one-point edge at 46-45 with 9:22 to play.

A Lyons trey on the next possession put Merrimack back up by two. The margin was still a pair at 50-48 when an 8-0 run – ignited by another Smith three-point play and capped with a Leighton 3 – put the Hawks in control at 56-50 with 3:21 on the clock.

Saint Anselm still led by six – 58-52 – with 1:43 left when Merrimack scored six straight to tie it, including a Roy layup with just over one second remaining that forced overtime.

Merrimack outshot Saint Anselm, 37.5 percent (24-64) to 35.4 percent (23-65), including 31.3 percent (5-16) to 16.7 percent (3-18) from beyond the arc, but the Hawks converted three of their four field goals in the extra session and made all six of their free throws. The Warriors, meanwhile, went 2-for-9 (22.2%) from the floor in overtime and did not make a trip to the charity stripe. The Hawks held a 47-39 advantage on the glass, as well as a 34-28 edge in the paint. They also turned the ball over 14 times, while forcing 18 Merrimack turnovers.

Roy led the Warriors with a game-high 26 points.

The Hawks return to action Friday, Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. when they play host to Nyack College at Stoutenburgh.