WBB: Merrimack Clinches Playoff Berth With Win At Franklin Pierce
RINDGE, N.H. – The Merrimack College women’s basketball outscored the Franklin Pierce University Ravens by 15 points in the second half, 31-16, on Saturday afternoon in Rindge, N.H. to transform a two-point halftime lead into a 56-39 victory from The Fieldhouse. Merrimack’s win combined with a loss for Saint Michael’s and a Stonehill victory locked up a berth for the Warriors in next week’s Northeast-10 Conference Championship.
Score: Merrimack 56, Franklin Pierce 39
Records: Merrimack (12-13, 10-10 NE10) | Franklin Pierce (3-22, 1-19 NE10)
Location: Hammel Court | North Andover, Mass.
The Turning Point:
After Franklin Pierce ended the third quarter with four straight points to cut the Warriors’ deficit to five, 36-31, the Navy and Gold opened the fourth on a 9-0 spurt to increase their lead to 14 and put the game away. Four different Warriors scored during the stretch, including a three-point play from sophomore Lexi Martin (Franklin, Mass.) and a fast-break layup from classmate Karlee Alves (Ellington, Conn.) to cap off the stretch.
NE10 Postseason Outlook:
The top-five teams in the Northeast Division advance to the NE10 Championship, with the fifth seed playing the fourth seed out of the Southwest in the opening round on Friday, Feb. 24. Merrimack locked up either a fourth- or fifth-place finish in the NE10 due to sweeping the season series with both Saint Michael’s and Stonehill. The Purple Knights and Skyhawks play each other in the regular-season finale on Tuesday, guaranteeing a 10-11 finish for one of them.
1) Bentley (18-1)
2) Assumption (13-7)
3) Saint Anselm (12-7)
4) Merrimack (10-10)
5) Saint Michael’s (10-10)
6) Stonehill (10-10)
7) Southern New Hampshire (6-14)
8) Franklin Pierce (1-19)
How It Happened (First Quarter)
- Martin scored six of Merrimack’s first eight points, giving the Warriors an 8-6 lead at the 4:28 mark, as the Ravens took their first timeout of the game
- Dana Campbell sank a triple for the hosts to make it an 11-10 contest with 2:38 left. Merrimack responded with a fast-break layup from Alves to take a brief lead, but the Ravens hit one more 3-pointer to end the quarter, taking a 14-12 advantage into the second
How It Happened (Second Quarter)
- Alves started the quarter with four straight points to give the Warriors a 16-14 lead. Two minutes later and facing a 19-16 deficit, the Navy and Gold went on another 4-0 spurt courtesy of buckets from freshman Denia Davis-Stewart (Dorchester, Mass.) and Martin to snatch the lead back, 20-19, with seven minutes remaining
- Davis-Stewart recorded one of her five first-half blocks with 3:46 remaining, which started a fast break the ended with freshman Alyssa Torres (Bohemia, N.Y.) dishing to Davis-Stewart for an easy two. That lay-in gave the visitors a 22-21 lead, and the Warriors took a 25-23 advantage to the locker room following a last-minute pull-up from senior My’Asia Alston (Cohoes, N.Y.)
How It Happened (Third Quarter)
- Alston began the third with Merrimack’s first seven points, staking the Warriors to a 32-27 lead four minutes into the frame. Martin followed with two free throws, and Alston converted on the break after a court-length feed from Alves as the Warriors started the frame on an 11-4 run. The Ravens used a timeout with 4:01 to play
- Layups from Campbell and Cameryn Wilson gave the hosts four unanswered points to end the quarter, as the Ravens held Merrimack scoreless over the final four minutes. Merrimack took a 36-31 lead to the fourth
How It Happened (Fourth Quarter)
- The Warriors started off hot in the fourth, using a 9-0 run over the first 3:15 of the frame to build a 45-31 lead. Four different Warriors scored during the stretch, including a three-point play from Martin
- Over the final five minutes of the game, Merrimack’s lead grew to as many as 18 points, following a pair of free throws from senior Savannah Johnson (Palmdale, Calif.) and a jumper from Davis-Stewart
Inside The Numbers
- Martin entered Saturday with just 22 points over her last five games, and enjoyed an offensive outburst to lead all scorers with 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting. It marked his most points since a 16-point effort against Le Moyne in January
- Alston put forth one of her most efficient efforts of the season, collecting 15 points on 6-of-11 from the field. She added a team-high three assists and tied for the team lead with three steals
- Davis-Stewart filled up the box score with six points, eight rebounds and six blocks. The six rejections marked a new season high as the rookie had totaled five blocks on six previous occasions
- Defensively, the Warriors held the Ravens to 5-of-18 shooting in the second and 0-of-6 from beyond the arc. Overall, Merrimack limited Franklin Pierce to 28.3 percent from the field, the lowest percentage for an opponent this season in NE10 play
- Merrimack totaled 12 steals, compared to just four for the hosts, which led to an 18-12 edge in points-off-turnovers. It registered as the 11th time this season that the Warriors totaled at least 10 swipes in a game
The Warriors host No. 15/18 Bentley University during Senior Night on Tuesday, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Both Alston and Johnson will be honored during the pregame ceremony.