FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – In a battle of nationally-ranked opponents, the Saint Anselm College women's basketball team came out on the losing end of a 70-63 contest against Fort Hays State University at the Cruzin Classic, hosted by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center.
Saint Anselm, who entered the week with a 7-0 record, dropped both games to find itself with a 7-2 overall mark exiting 2019. The Hawks return to action Thursday, Jan. 2, heading to Mercy (N.Y.) for a game with a start time to be determined.
Senior Shannon Ryan (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) logged yet another double-double, scoring 18 points with 14 rebounds to her credit. Junior Peyton Steinman (Pittsfield, Mass.) had 23 points with nine rebounds and was followed by senior Sara Messler (Durham, N.H.) and her 12-rebound, three block performance. Messler tied a career-high mark with 12 rebounds and added a personal-best three blocks. Junior Grace Guachione (Pittsfield, Mass.) matched Steinman with three treys.
Ryan, who climbed to eighth all-time in career point scoring at Saint Anselm, finds herself tied with Carson-Newman's Kayla Marosites for the national NCAA Division II lead with nine double-doubles on the season. She also trails the active NCAA Division II leader, Kallie Bildner from Lindenwood (Mo.), by only one with 48 in her career at Saint Anselm.
The Hawks, ranked sixth in NCAA Division II by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association National Poll, led by a six-point margin with 2:20 left in the fourth quarter. Down by six only minutes earlier, the Hawks turned the tables with a 10-0 run that was capped by back-to-back triples from Guachione and Spinks.
Fort Hays State, the 16th-ranked team in NCAA Division II, hadn't made a three-point basket in nine attempts through three quarters. It was the long-range shot that stoked a Tigers rally in the fourth quarter as two of the three treys put Fort Hays State ahead in the back-and-forth battle.
With the score tied at 53 following a Taylor Rolfs three-pointer, Steinman answered with a jumper but a 6-0 scoring run by the Tigers put the game temporarily out of reach with 1:36 to go. Down by four, Guachione poured home a three with 13 seconds left to cut the deficit to 64-63, but with the ball back after two FHSU free throws, the Hawks turned the ball over on an inbounds play.
Fort Hays State led by six points, 12-6, with 1:32 to go in the opening quarter and would later lead by as many as seven points on two occasions early in the second stanza. A layup from Steinman and back-to-back jumpers by Ryan drew the score even at 25 with 4:03 to go in the first half, but a late scoring spurt by the Tigers gave them a 32-27 lead at the break.
Down by six early in the third quarter, the Hawks posted a 14-2 run that was started with eight combined points from Ryan and Steinman.
Saint Anselm finished the game by making all 14 of its shots at the free throw line.
Fort Hays State was led by 19 points from Jaden Hobbs. The Tigers were outshot by the Hawks from the floor (35%-to-34.7%) and were outrebounded by a 48-to-43 margin. Saint Anselm committed 19 turnovers with Fort Hays State turning the ball over only six times across 40 minutes.