No. 8/9 women's basketball gets past Franklin Pierce, 75-58

No. 8/9 women's basketball gets past Franklin Pierce, 75-58

MANCHESTER, N.H. – The nationally-ranked Saint Anselm College women's basketball team toppled its in-state rival, Franklin Pierce University, on Saturday by a 75-58 score in a Northeast-10 Conference game played at Stoutenburgh Gymnasium.

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The Hawks, ranked eighth in NCAA Division II by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, improves to 4-0 on the young season, winning their first two NE10 fixtures of the season. Franklin Pierce drops to 3-2 overall on the year, losing its conference opener.

Saint Anselm was a perfect 12-for-12 from the free throw line, not missing a free throw for the first time since a 12-for-12 performance against Saint Michael's on Feb. 23, 2013. Junior Peyton Steinman (Pittsfield, Mass.) led the way with seven made free throws, finishing with 18 points. Senior Shannon Ryan (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) added 23 rebounds and 12 points, throwing up three blocks.

Senior Sara Messler (Durham, N.H.) contributed with her third career double-double, notching 17 points with 10 rebounds. She now has over 400 rebounds in her career. Junior Grace Guachione (Pittsfield, Mass.) had 11 points with four assists and freshman Macy Spinks (Luton, England) handed out six assists in 36 minutes of game play.

Franklin Pierce carried a lead through the first quarter of play, holding a six-point advantage with 3:29 to go in the opener. Messler keyed a strong 11-2 stretch for the Hawks in response, scoring seven of those points herself, to give the hosts a 21-18 lead with 9:32 to go in the first half of action.

With a Hawks halftime lead of 33-27, Franklin Pierce tied the game on three occasions to start the third quarter. A Steinman three-point basket with 6:01 left in the third swung the momentum clearly in the Hawks' direction as Guachione followed with a trey of her own less than a minute later.

The offensive pressure from Saint Anselm continued into the fourth quarter as an 11-point lead was created by another Steinman triple. Ahead by eight points with under five minutes to go, the Hawks concluded play on a 10-1 run to create the final game-high lead of 17 points, 75-58.

The Hawks were outshot by Franklin Pierce, who posted a nearly 46% field goal percentage, but the Hawks logged 41 rebounds while limiting the Ravens to only 25 loose balls. Saint Anselm held the edge in second-chance points (19-to-7) and scored 14 points off of Ravens miscues.

Sophia Holmes had a game-high 17 points for Franklin Pierce. Izzy Lipinski had 12 points, seven assists and as many rebounds for the Ravens in the loss.