NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The Merrimack College women’s basketball team donned pink warmups in support of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund as the Warriors hosted a Play 4Kay game on Saturday afternoon against Assumption in a Northeast Division clash. The Greyhounds held on for a 60-56 victory despite a valiant comeback attempt from Merrimack down the stretch.
Score: Merrimack 56 | Assumption 60
Records: Merrimack (11-11, 7-10 NE-10) | Assumption (13-10, 8-10 NE-10)
Location: Hammel Court | North Andover, Mass.
Northeast-10 Postseason Outlook
With the loss, Merrimack drops to fourth place in the standings, with a 1.5 game lead over Saint Michael’s for the fourth spot in the division. The Warriors will play the Purple Knights in the regular-season finale. Merrimack still has a game in hand over Assumption, as the teams split the season series with today’s loss. Merrimack is still in line to host a postseason game after today’s result.
1) Stonehill (20-2, 16-2)
2) Franklin Pierce (14-8, 11-7)
3) Assumption (13-10, 8-10)
4) Merrimack (11-11, 7-10)
5) Saint Michael’s (11-12, 6-12)
6) Southern NH (11-14, 5-13)
7) Bentley (10-14, 5-13)
8) Saint Anselm (7-16, 5-13)
How It Happened
Merrimack did not get off to the start they wanted as the Warriors committed five turnovers over the first 4:38 of action. During that time, Assumption was only able to build a 6-4 lead as the Greyhounds missed four of their first seven shots.
At the 12:37 mark, Chloe Rothman (Newton, Mass.) made a three-pointer to make it 9-8 in favor of Merrimack. The Greyhounds embarked on a 9-0 run after that make from Rothman, taking a 17-9 lead after a three-pointer from Allison Stoddard. Merrimack answered that run with a 6-0 spurt of its own to make it 17-15 with less than eight minutes to play in the half.
With less than three minutes to go in the opening stanza, Stoddard hit a trey to push the Greyhounds’ lead back to seven points at 28-21. Merrimack responded with back-to-back baskets from seniors Melissa Miller (North Andover, Mass.) and Aria Johnson (Los Osos, Calif.), but the Greyhounds scored six straight point on consecutive three-pointers from Kelly Carey. The visitors entered halftime with a 34-27 advantage.
Over the first 7:32 of the second half, Assumption maintained its seven-point advantage as a layup from Kelly Conley made it 41-34. Five straight points courtesy of a layup from Johnson and a three-pointer from Ashley Weissmann (Highland, Calif.) made it a one-possession game at 43-41 with 10:29 to play.
Shayla Hubbard, after not scoring in the first half, scored six points in a span of 2:01 to push Assumption’s lead back to eight points at 51-43 with less than eight minutes to play. Merrimack answered with a 6-0 spurt capped off by a Caitlyn Garger (Hicksville, N.Y.) jumper and it once again was a two-point game, 51-49, with 4:20 left in the contest. Over the next 2:25 of the game, the Warriors had four chances to either tie the game or take the lead, but the Warriors missed two shots and turned the ball over twice. Stoddard made consecutive buckets and it was back to a two-possession game at 55-49 with 1:12 to go.
With less than a minute to play, the Warriors cut it to 57-54 after Tia Scott (New York, N.Y.) converted on a three-point play, but the Greyhounds made five-of-six from the free-throw line over the final 18 seconds to keep the Warriors at arm’s length. Assumption walked away with a crucial 60-56 divisional win.
Inside The Numbers
- Merrimack used only its third different starting lineup of the season, as Rothman came off the bench and senior guard Allison Wagner (Center Conway, N.Y.) made her first start of the season
- Johnson led the way for Merrimack with 17 points and 10 rebounds, including four on the offensive glass. It is her seventh double-double of the season and first in the last six games. Over her last three games, Johnson is averaging 15 points and 9.3 caroms per game
- Stoddard, who entered the game as Assumption’s leading scorer, totaled a game-high 21 points in 21 minutes. Caitlin Ackerman contributed 12 points and six boards from the forward position
- Merrimack struggled from three-point range, making only two-of-15 attempts from beyond the arc. Rothman, Wagner and Weissmann combined to make just two three-pointers on 13 attempts
- Merrimack lost despite having a 16-point edge in the paint and a nine-point edge in second-chance points. Assumption was able to get out on the break more than the Navy and Gold, totaling 11 fast-break points
The Warriors continue their stretch of three games in five days when Merrimack takes on Southern Connecticut down in New Haven on Monday at 3:30 p.m. The Warriors and Owls were originally scheduled to play on January 27, but has been postponed twice due to inclement weather.