MANCHESTER, N.H. – Junior Tori Lehr (Cohasset, Mass.) scored a season-high 14 points, but the Saint Anselm College women's basketball team's late rally fell short as Pace University squeaked out a 51-49 victory on Tuesday evening at Stoutenburgh Gymnasium.
The Hawks drop to 4-10 on the season, including 1-9 in Northeast-10 play, while the Setters improve to 8-6, 6-4 NE-10.
Lehr was 6-for-11 from the floor and a perfect 2-for-2 at the line, while filling the box score with eight rebounds, three assists, three blocks and two steals. Senior Curran Leighton (Dover, N.H.) was also in double figures for the Hawks with 10 points on 4 of 6 shooting, including 1 of 2 from behind the arc.
After the Setters jumped out to an 8-0 lead early, a 3-pointer from junior Kierra Moore (Albany, N.Y.) and a layup by classmate Briana Jones (White Plains, N.Y.) cut the Saint Anselm deficit to three at 11-8 with 13:48 remaining. Pace used a 5-0 spurt nearly three minutes later, however, to grab a 19-10 lead midway through the half.
Baskets by Lehr and freshman Alexius Hampton (Charlotte, N.C.) later trimmed the lead to five at 21-16 at the seven-minute mark. The gap was still five with 1:49 on the clock when Brittany Shields dumped in a layup to close the scoring and send the Setters into the locker room with a 29-22 advantage.
Hampton opened up the second half by making one of two at the line, but a 6-0 Pace run – with four points from Shields – widened the margin to 12 at 35-23 just 4:10 in. A Lehr jumper stopped the bleeding, but an Allison Cleary trey gave Pace its largest lead of the night at 38-25 with 15:40 to go.
A layup by freshman Krista O'Gara (New Fairfield, Conn.) sparked an 8-0 Saint Anselm run, which featured four points from Leighton, and cut the deficit to five at 38-33 with 9:20 remaining. The Hawks would whittle it to four, but five straight points from Jessica Scannell pushed the lead back to nine at 45-36 with 7:12 left.
Following an old-fashioned three-point play from Leighton, Cleary buried another 3 to keep it a nine-point game, but a basket from Jones and a 3 from the left corner by Leighton sparked a 10-0 run that gave the Hawks their first and only lead of the night. Lehr sank a pair of free throws before Jones made one of two at the stripe to bring the Hawks within one. Lehr then converted a layup and Saint Anselm led 49-48 with 2:15 remaining.
Scannell grabbed the lead back for Pace when she drained a 3 from the left wing with 49 seconds left that put the Setters up two. The Hawks missed on their next possession and wound up getting the ball back with 0.5 seconds left, but could not get off a shot from the opposite end of the floor.
Jones tallied eight points on 3 of 7 shooting to go along with four rebounds and two assists. O'Gara also netted eight points on 3 of 7 shooting, including a perfect 2 of 2 from deep, while pulling in four rebounds and handing out two assists. Hampton chipped in six points on 2 of 3 shooting, including 1 of 2 from long range and dished out a career-best five assists.
The Hawks outshot Pace, 44.2 percent (19-43) to 43.5 percent (20-46), including 55.6 percent (5-9) to 40 percent (8-20) from 3 and 43.5 percent (10-23) to 33.3 percent (8-24) in the second stanza. Saint Anselm held a 27-25 edge on the glass, while scoring in the paint was even at 18 apiece. The Hawks turned it over 14 times, while forcing 15 Setter turnovers, and led 15-6 in points off turnovers.
Scannell and Shields each led Pace with 14, while Cleary added 11.
The Hawks return to action Saturday, Jan. 19 at 1:30 p.m. when they take on Assumption College at Laska Gymnasium. The next home game for the Hawks is Saturday, Jan. 26 at 1:30 p.m. Stay up-to-date with the latest news, including game previews and recaps, directly from the Saint Anselm College athletic department by liking us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/STAHawks) and following us on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/STAHawks).