MANCHESTER, N.H. – Junior Raquel Johnson (Inglewood, Calif.) and sophomore Caitlyn Abela (No. Easton, Mass.) combined for 44 points to lead the Saint Anselm College women's basketball team to Saturday afternoon's 71-68 victory against Pace University at Stoutenburgh Gymnasium.
The Hawks vanquish a lengthy losing streak to improve to 5-11 on the season, including 3-8 in Northeast-10 play. The Setters, who have now lost to Saint Anselm in back-to-back meetings after a 13-game winning streak in the series, dip to 8-9, 3-7 NE-10.
Johnson dropped a career-high 22 points (10-20 FG, 2-2 FT) to go along with 14 rebounds and four assists, while Abela also scored 22 (6-13 FG, 5-12 3-FG, 5-5 FT) and added six boards, two assists, two steals and a block. Sophomore Candace Andrews (Boston, Mass.) joined the duo in double figures with 12 points (3-14 FG, 6-8 FT), six rebounds, six assists, three steals and a block.
Yuni Sher led Pace with 20 points, while Gabriella Rubin registered 19.
Saint Anselm jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first 4:10 of the contest before a Rubin jumper put Pace on the board 4:24 in. The lead was 8-2 when an 8-2 spurt for Pace – with four points from Sher – knotted the game at 10-all with 12:31 remaining in the opening half.
Abela responded with a 3-pointer that sparked a 13-2 run – with five points coming from Andrews – to put Saint Anselm back into the lead at 23-12 with 9:37 left.
A trio of treys would make up a 9-2 wave for Pace that trimmed its deficit to four, but 3-pointers from freshman Ali Glennon (Bedford, N.H.) and Abela ignited an 11-2 rush that gave the Hawks a game-high lead of 13 at 38-25 with 3:20 to play. A layup from Sher and a Rubin trifecta would close the first-half scoring with Saint Anselm leading, 40-32.
The lead was six over six-and-a-half minutes in when seven points from Margo Hackett fueled a 10-3 run that gave Pace its first lead of the game at 49-48 with 12:01 to go in the contest. An Abela 3-pointer halted the run and put the Hawks back in the lead just 10 seconds later.
Three points each from Jaclyn Oskam and Christina Rubin made up a string of eight consecutive points that gave Pace its largest lead of the afternoon at 60-57 with just under five minutes on the clock.
Abela again played the role of stopper as she canned a 3 from the left corner to tie it at 60-all with 4:04 remaining. A pair of Hackett free throws put Pace back in front, but seven points from Johnson made up a 7-2 stretch that handed Saint Anselm a 67-64 lead with just under two minutes left.
Four straight points, including a jumper from Sher with 17 seconds left, would put Pace back on top, 68-67, but four free throws from Andrews – one set with 7.6 on the clock off an intentional foul and the second when the Hawks received the ball back and Pace was forced to commit the foul, trailing by one, with 6.9 left – opened a 71-68 lead for the hosts. Hackett was able to get off a decent look at a 3-pointer to tie it, but the shot did not fall and the Hawks escaped with the victory.
Glennon posted eight points (3-8 FG, 2-4 3-FG), four rebounds and two assists, while Putnam chipped in five points (2-5 FG, 1-1 FT) and three rebounds.
Pace outshot Saint Anselm, 41.4 percent (24-58) to 39.7 percent (25-63), while both teams were almost identical from deep, with the Hawks holding a slight 35 percent (7-20) to 33.3 percent (7-21) edge. The Hawks won the glass (41-31) and the paint (30-22), in addition to having a slightly better assist-to-turnover ratio (16/12-12/10). Despite the low turnover numbers, Pace was able to gain a 17-8 advantage in points off mistakes.
The Hawks return to action Wednesday, Jan. 21 at 5:30 p.m. when they play host to Le Moyne 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.