MANCHESTER, N.H. – Freshman Grace Guachione hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 1:01 remaining to send the Saint Anselm College women's basketball team to a 59-57 victory over Merrimack on Saturday afternoon at Stoutenburgh Gymnasium.
With Merrimack (12-9, 8-8 NE10) holding a 57-55 lead after a layup by Mayson Kimball with 1:31 to go, Guachione answered with a clutch three-pointer from the left wing off a pass from Clairee Putnam to give Saint Anselm (14-9, 10-6 NE10) a one-point edge. After a missed three by the Warriors on the next possession, Putnam came up with a loose ball and made one of two free throws with two seconds to go to make it a 59-57 game. Merrimack advanced the ball but Alyssa Casey's last-second shot from the left baseline missed everything as the Hawks held on for the win to snap the Warriors' four-game winning streak.
Sophomore Shannon Ryan led all players with 21 points and 14 rebounds in the game for Saint Anselm, which shot an even 40.0 percent from the floor. Senior Ali Glennon was 6-for-9 from the field, including 3-for-6 from behind the arc, on her way to 15 points and sophomore Sara Messler pitched in with 10 points of her own.
Casey paced the Warriors with 20 points, making four three-pointers on 11 attempts. Kimball added 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting and Denia Davis-Stewart recorded eight points, seven rebounds and six blocks for Merrimack, which shot 43.4 percent from the field.
Lindsay Werner scored all seven of her points in the first quarter for Merrimack, but Saint Anselm shot 8-for-14 (57.1 percent) in the opening 10 minutes to lead 19-16 after one. A three-point play from Ryan broke a 7-7 tie four minutes into the game and was part of a seven-point first quarter for the sophomore. Guachione drilled a three with 1:49 left in the quarter and Kaitlyn Petrocelli added a jumper 40 seconds later to help Saint Anselm close the quarter on a 5-0 run.
A Glennon three-pointer 2:15 into the second kept Saint Anselm on top by four and Messler later scored five-straight points for the Hawks to bump the lead up to six, 27-21, with 4:14 left in the opening half. Threes from Casey and Kimball helped the Warriors even the game at 29-29 before Ryan hit a pair of jumpers in the final 1:16 of the half to put Saint Anselm up four at the half.
Merrimack outscored Saint Anselm 18-9 in the third quarter by limiting the Hawks to just three field goals and 21.4 percent shooting to take a 47-42 lead into the fourth. A Kimball three-pointer gave the Warriors a 34-33 lead on their second possession of the third, only for Saint Anselm to reclaim a four-point lead with a 9-4 run. Merrimack made its final three shots, including a buzzer-beating three by Kimball who had 10 in the quarter, to end the quarter on a quick 7-0 run in the final 1:24.
Messler ended the Merrimack run with a corner three early in the fourth but Casey quickly canceled it out with one of her own. Ryan accounted for three baskets during an 8-3 spurt to help the Hawks tie it up at 53-53 with 4:23 remaining. Casey and Glennon traded buckets to keep the game tied before Kimball's layup put Saint Anselm in a two-point hole with 1:31 left, but Guachione's clutch three-pointer helped proved to be the difference for the Hawks.
Saint Anselm hits the road to take on Assumption on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 5:30 p.m.