MANCHESTER, N.H. – Junior Raquel Johnson (Inglewood, Calif.) and sophomore Caitlyn Abela (No. Easton, Mass.) each recorded double-doubles to lead five Hawks in double figures as the Saint Anselm College women's basketball team cruised to a 91-46 win against Wilmington (Del.) University in its season opener Friday evening at Stoutenburgh Gymnasium.
The Hawks open 1-0 for the sixth straight season as they post their highest point total since a 91-33 thrashing of Nyack College on Dec. 30, 2011. The Wildcats start out 0-1.
Johnson posted the best game of her career as she netted 13 points – one shy of her career high – and pulled down a career-best 16 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end. She shot 5 of 11 from the floor and 3 of 4 at the line, while filling the rest of the stat sheet with an assist, a block and a steal. Abela shook of a slow start in her first game in a Saint Anselm uniform to finish with 14 points, 11 boards and two steals.
Sophomore Candace Andrews (Boston, Mass.) also slipped away from a tough start to tally 14 points (7-16 FG), a career-high seven assists, five rebounds, three steals and three blocks. Junior Nancy Stablein (Shelton, Conn.) hit for a career-best 14 points (5-7 FG, 2-2 3-FG, 2-3 FT) to go along with three rebounds. Sophomore Aliyah Smith (Medford, N.Y.), in just her second career start, scored a career-high 13 points (6-9 FG), including Saint Anselm's first seven, dished four assists and made a pair of steals.
Saint Anselm started out shooting just 4 of 18 through the first 10 minutes of the game, but flipped the script and shot 54 percent over the final 30 minutes to pick up the decisive win. In the end, the Hawks outshot Wilmington, 46.8 percent (37-79) to 23 percent (17-74) and held a 66-40 advantage in rebounding, including 26-20 on the offensive glass.
The Hawks trailed early on before Smith's seven straight made it 7-3 just over five minutes in. After Abela knocked in a jumper to nudge the lead to six, both teams went cold for the next three-and-a-half minutes. But once the Wildcats broke the ice, Saint Anselm made its next four shots to open up a 17-8 lead with 8:37 to play in the opening half.
Wilmington pulled within five just over two-and-a-half minutes later, but Saint Anselm responded with a balanced 18-3 run that saw six different people contribute points during the 8-for-14 shooting spree that sent the Hawks into the break with a 38-18 advantage.
A pair of offensive put-backs from Johnson jump-started the second-half scoring and ignited a 10-3 run that widened the margin to 27 at 48-21 with 16:21 remaining. With the lead at 25 nearly eight minutes later, Saint Anselm slammed the door shut with a 24-3 explosion that again featured six different scorers, included a four-point play from Stablein and was capped by a dagger 3-pointer from Abela to make it 82-36 with just under four minutes to go.
Freshman Clairee Putnam (Windham, N.H.) converted a driving layup with 1:03on the clock to give all 10 players on the roster at least one field goal in the contest and open the Hawks' largest lead of the night at 89-42.
Sophomore Kaila Duarte (Dorchester, Mass.) came up big in her first game with Saint Anselm as she recorded seven points (3-6 FG, 1-4 FT), 12 boards, three blocks and two steals. Freshman Ali Glennon (Bedford, N.H.) chipped in six points (2-5 FG, 2-2 FT), four rebounds, two blocks, an assist and a steal, while classmate Jillian Fama (Lynnfield, Mass.) contributed five points (2-3 FG, 1-2 3-FG) and three rebounds in nine minutes. Fellow freshman Erin Waters (Pawling, N.Y.) kicked in two points, five boards, two assists and a block, while Putnam finished with three points.
Saint Anselm dominated the paint (48-8), transformed turnovers into points (31-12) and featured a better assist-to-turnover ratio (17/17-8/19).
The Hawks are right back at it Saturday, Nov. 15 at 5 p.m. when they play host to Felician College at Stoutenburgh. 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 and following us on Twitter @STAHawks.