Women’s Basketball Falls Short Against Assumption, 66-58

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Junior Raquel Johnson (Inglewood, Calif.) scored a game-high 15 points, including 12 in the second half to help nearly erase a 10-point deficit, but the Saint Anselm College women's basketball team could not complete the comeback as Assumption College pulled out a 66-58 victory Saturday afternoon at Stoutenburgh Gymnasium.

The Hawks lose for the first time this season and are now 3-1 overall and 1-1 in Northeast-10 play. The Greyhounds, who were coming off a 65-62 win Wednesday that snapped Bentley University's 37-game unbeaten streak, remain perfect at 4-0, 2-0 NE-10.

Johnson shot 5-for-15 in the game, including 4-for-9 in the second half, and was 5-for-9 at the line, while tallying four rebounds, four steals, two assists and a block. Sophomore Caitlyn Abela (No. Easton, Mass.) netted 14 points (5-10 FG, 3-5 3-FG, 1-3 FT) to go along with three rebounds and two helpers, while classmate Kaila Duarte (Dorchester, Mass.) recorded her third straight double-double with 13 points (5-7 FG, 3-7 FT) and 11 boards. Fellow sophomore Candace Andrews (Boston, Mass.) was also in double figures with 13 points (5-13 FG, 3-3 FT) and four steals.

Kelly Conley paced Assumption with 14 points.

Saint Anselm controlled the game early, taking a 7-3 lead on a Duarte three-point play just 3:25 in. After the Greyhounds slowly climbed to within one, an Abela 3-pointer pushed the lead back to four at 10-6 with 11:15 remaining in the opening half.

A 6-0 run from the Greyhounds – with four points from Jo Imperllizeri – gave Assumption its first lead of the day at 12-10, but another Abela trifecta put the Hawks back on top before sophomore Aliyah Smith (Medford, N.Y.) converted a layup to make it 15-12 with 9:31 to go.

Four straight points from Conley sparked a 15-3 run for Assumption that gave the Greyhounds the lead at 27-18 with just under a minute to go in the half. Conley's second of two free throws put Assumption in the lead for good at 16-15 with 8:02 to play. Six different players scored during the balanced run. Smith would hit 1 of 2 at the line for Saint Anselm to trim the lead to 27-19 at the break.

Caitlin Ackerman opened the second-half scoring with a layup that broke open Assumption's largest lead of the contest at 29-19 just 11 seconds in. Johnson answered by dropping in a layup that sparked a 6-0 spurt to cut the Saint Anselm deficit to 29-25 just 1:36 in.

Saint Anselm would climb within three at 34-31 with 14:44 remaining, but back-to-back treys from Teneya McLaughlin and Conley ran the lead back to 40-31 with 13:27 to play. The gap was still nine at 44-35 nearly three minutes later when seven straight points trimmed the Hawks' deficit to 44-42 with 8:36 left.

With the margin still at two, Kelly Carey put in five straight points to expand the lead to seven at 51-44 with less than seven minutes on the clock. Saint Anselm again would not go away as they reeled off a 10-4 stretch, with the final seven coming from Andrews, to make it a one-point game at 55-54 with 2:31 to go.

The gap was two at 57-55 with a minute-and-a-half to play when Abela had a potential layup to tie it roll around the rim and pop out. Assumption would then seize control and score nine of the game's final 12 points to escape with the win.

Assumption outshot Saint Anselm, 39.2 percent (20-51) to 36.2 percent (21-58), including 31.3 percent (5-16) to 16.7 percent (3-18) from long distance. The Hounds also feasted at the line, as well, going 21-for-26 (80.8%), while the Hawks were 13-for-24 (54.2%). Assumption also won the glass (39-35), with Saint Anselm holding the edge in the paint (32-28) and turning it over fewer times (21) than Assumption (24).

The Hawks return to action Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 5:30 p.m. when they take on Merrimack College. The next home game for the Hawks is Saturday, Dec. 6 at 1:30 p.m. when they play host to Franklin Pierce University 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.