GARDEN CITY, N.Y. – The defense of the Saint Anselm College women's basketball team stood tall in the waning minutes of Saturday's game against Adelphi University. The Hawks were able to hold on for a 75-72 victory over the host Panthers at the Center for Recreation and Sport.
The Hawks move to 11-3 overall and to 6-3 against Northeast-10 Conference opponents. Adelphi drops to 8-7 on the season and to 5-3 versus league foes. Saint Anselm entered play ranked sixth in the D2SIDA Women's Basketball East Region Media Poll.
Junior Shannon Ryan (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) tallied 30 points and scooped up 20 rebounds, matching a career-high in rebounding and falling one point shy of equaling a personal record. Sophomore Peyton Steinman (Pittsfield, Mass.) scored 22 points and senior Sara Messler (Durham, N.H.) reached double-digits with 10 points.
Ryan also posted six blocks in the game, the third time she has reached that career-high figure. She recorded four of those blocks in the fourth quarter alone, helping Saint Anselm maintain its edge in the game down the stretch. She also picked up nine rebounds in the final 10 minutes of action, propelling her team to the 43-to-32 overall edge through four quarters.
The junior transfer from Boston College only needs eight more rebounds to reach 500 for her three-year career that included four caroms picked up as a member of the Eagles in 2016-17. She also passed 800 career points in Saturday's victory and her 18.6 points per game to date stands as the second-best figure in team history (min. 20 games).
Down by four, 61-57, with 20 seconds elapsed in the fourth quarter, a clutch three-point basket from senior Ashley Briggs (Scarborough, Maine) keyed an 18-11 run by the Hawks to end the game. She would later pour home another trey minutes later, giving her five triples in the final 10 minutes of regulation time to lead the Hawks in that statistic.
Ahead by a 73-72 score with 1:27 left in regulation time, a key Ryan block seconds later would stymie a fast-charging Adelphi offense. She would add yet another rejection to her stat line with 22 seconds left, collecting the rebound and forcing the Panthers to foul down by only one point.
Messler was able to bury back-to-back free throws with 16 seconds left and, immediately after those makes, sophomore Grace Guachione (Pittsfield, Mass.) had a game-ending takeaway that all but concluded the proceedings.
Saint Anselm built a 6-2 lead early in the contest thanks to baskets from Steinman, Ryan and Messler. The first quarter lead grew to seven points, 22-15, as Steinman capped a 9-2 scoring run – during that span, Adelphi committed two turnovers and the Hawks were 4-for-8 from the floor.
A key stretch in the opening stanza came when Steinman was fouled on a three-point attempt. Making all three free throws with four seconds left in the first quarter, the Hawks sprinted back on defense before a desperation heave from just inside the arc by Adelphi's Katie Murphy cut the Saint Anselm lead to three points, 25-22.
Adelphi owned a three-point lead before a Steinman triple drew the score even at 35 with 3:51 to go in the first half. The Hawks closed the half on another 9-2 scoring run, forcing two Adelphi turnovers and limiting the hosts to 1-of-5 shooting. Saint Anselm was 3-for-4 from the floor as Steinman had five of her team's nine points.
Adelphi controlled play in the third quarter, building a six-point lead with 2:58 to go. Saint Anselm was pressured into five turnovers in the 10-minute quarter and Adelphi took advantage, outscoring the Hawks by a 22-16 margin in that frame. Niajah Morgan had nine of those points, shooting four-for-seven from the floor in the third quarter alone.
She finished as Adelphi's leader in scoring with 25 points. Leonie Edringer had 15 points and eight rebounds.
Saint Anselm will tangle with Southern Connecticut State this Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 5:30 p.m. in a key Northeast-10 fixture.