MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Saint Anselm College women's basketball team trailed by as many as 11 points early in the contest, but the Hawks rallied to capture a 60-50 victory over the Warriors from Merrimack College on Saturday at Stoutenburgh Gymnasium.
Saint Anselm, ranked seventh in the East Region according to the D2SIDA Women's Basketball East Region Media Poll, improves to 7-1 overall on the season, having won four out of its five Northeast-10 Conference games. Merrimack falls to 4-4 overall and to 0-4 against league opponents.
Junior Sara Messler (Durham, N.H.) scored a career-high 25 points for Saint Anselm, earning her first career double-double with 10 rebounds. Classmate Shannon Ryan (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) scored 10 points and added as many rebounds. Junior Julia Thissell (Hopkinton, Mass.) scored 10 points for the Hawks with sophomore Peyton Steinman (Pittsfield, Mass.) handing out six assists with four steals.
Merrimack led by a game-high 11 points with 1:38 expired in the second period as an 11-0 scoring run stunned the Hawks early in the contest. Saint Anselm cut the visitors lead to two points, 24-22, with 2:20 to go in the first half as a 15-6 run was keyed by two treys from senior Emma Daly (Pearl River, N.Y.).
The Warriors led by nine points shortly into the third quarter as a Denia Davis-Stewart jumper created a 36-27 lead. Saint Anselm settled down and answered with 12-straight points – during that stretch, Messler had three jumpers and added two free throws for eight points to propel her team to a 39-36 lead.
Heading into the fourth quarter down by one point, 40-39, senior Ashley Briggs (Scarborough, Maine) poured home a triple to give her team the lead for good. The Hawks outscored the Warriors by a 21-10 margin down the stretch, building their lead to a game-best 10 points as time expired. Saint Anselm was 10-for-16 from the floor in the final 10 minutes, owning an 11-8 advantage on the glass.
The Warriors, led by double-doubles from Davis Stewart and Mayson Kimball, shot only 18.8% from the floor in the second half. Saint Anselm finished the game shooting 35.2% from the floor (25-for-71), recovering from a 3-for-14 first quarter and only seven points in that frame. The Hawks owned the edge in the paint, 36-to-24, and scored 10 of the game's 14 second-chance points.
Saint Anselm travels to Saint Michael's for a 5:30 p.m. conference tilt on Tuesday, Dec. 4.