SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – For the first time in 17 years, the Saint Anselm College women's basketball team has advanced to the Northeast-10 Conference Semifinals following a 76-53 victory at American International College on Sunday afternoon in Springfield, Mass.
The No. 3-seeded Hawks improve to 19-9 with the win, posting the program's first win in the NE10 Tournament since 2004. Saint Anselm will travel to #15 and top-seeded Bentley University on Thursday night for a 7 p.m. meeting with the Falcons. Bentley advanced with a 76-43 victory on Sunday over Merrimack.
No. 2 seed American International wraps up its season at 19-10 overall.
Candace Andrews scored a game-high 26 points to go with four rebounds, seven assists and four steals in the win. Kaila Duarte posted her second-straight double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Clairee Putnam added 14 points of her own. Caitlyn Abela chipped in eight points and seven rebounds as well.
AIC was led by 23 points and 14 rebounds from Dana Watts with Imani Stepney adding 16 points and seven rebounds.
It was a back-and-forth battle to start the game as a Duarte layup early in the first quarter made it a 9-8 lead for the Hawks. Watts eventually pulled the Yellow Jackets to within one at 13-12, but the Hawks ended the quarter on a 10-3 run to take a 23-15 advantage after one period of play. Erin Waters knocked down a pair of layups with Putnam and Daly burying triples during the run.
Stepney opened the second quarter with a jumper, but the Hawks continued to pull away as Duarte and Glennon combined for a 7-0 run to stretch the Hawk lead out to 30-17 with 7:25 to play in the stanza. Stepney answered again with a jumper to end the run, but Andrews rattled off four-straight points to give the Hawks a 34-19 lead.
Another 10-0 run by the Hawks, fueled by five points from Andrews, extended the Saint Anselm advantage to 44-21, but the Yellow Jackets scored the final five points of the period on five free throws from Dana Watts to make it a 44-26 game at the half.
Putnam sandwiched layups around a Destine Perry score to open the third quarter before an Andrews layup gave the Hawks a 50-28 lead with 7:36 remaining. The teams traded scores the rest of the period, but the Hawks lead never fell below 18 in the quarter with Saint Anselm taking a 59-40 lead into the final frame.
The Hawks led by as many as 23 and the lead never dipped below 17 in the fourth quarter as Saint Anselm cruised to the 76-53 victory at AIC.
Saint Anselm shot 50.9% (29-of-57) from the field, 29.4% (5-of-17) from beyond the arc and 81.3% (13-of-16) from the charity stripe in the win. AIC only shot 31.7% (20-of-63) from the floor, 14.3% (1-of-7) from three and 66.7% (12-of-18) from the free throw line. Both teams grabbed 37 rebounds in the game, while the Yellow Jackets committed only 16 turnovers to 18 for Saint Anselm. The Hawks dominated points in the paint, 44-24, while also holding a slight edge in second-chance points, 16-12.
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