PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Sophomore Lexi Martin (Franklin, Mass.) recorded 18 points, nine rebounds and three steals, while freshman Denia Davis-Stewart (Dorchester, Mass.) picked up her fourth double-double of the season with 13 points and 13 rebounds as the Merrimack College women’s basketball downed the Pace University Setters, 63-51, in the opening round of the Northeast-10 Conference Championship on Friday night in Pleasantville, N.Y. With the win, the Warriors advanced to quarterfinals where Merrimack will meet top-seeded Bentley University at 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.
Score: Merrimack 63, Pace 51
Records: Merrimack (13-14) | Pace (14-15)
Location: Goldstein Fitness Center | Pleasantville, N.Y.
The Turning Point:
Merrimack outscored the Setters by 12 points, 21-9, in the third quarter to turn a one-point halftime lead into a 53-40 advantage after 30 minutes. With the score at 36-33 at the 8:45 mark, the Warriors used a 9-2 run to take a 10-point lead, 45-35, and never looked back. Four different Warriors scored during the stretch, and sophomore Hannah Neild (Litchfield, N.H.) capped the run with trey with 6:02 to go in the third.
NE10 Championship Schedule
First Round // Friday, Feb. 24
Game 1: Southern Connecticut (#5 seed SW) def. Stonehill (#4 seed NE), 62-60
Game 2: Merrimack (#5 seed NE) def. Pace (#4 seed SW), 63-51
Quarterfinals // Sunday, Feb. 26
Game 3: Southern Connecticut (#5 seed SW) at Adelphi (No. 1 seed SW) – 3:00 PM
Game 4: Merrimack (#5 seed NE) at Bentley (No. 1 seed NE) – 3:00 PM
Game 5: Saint Anselm (No. 3 seed NE) at American International (No. 2 seed SW) – 3:00 PM
Game 6: Le Moyne (No. 3 seed SW) at Assumption (No. 2 seed NE) – 3:00 PM
Semifinals // Thursday, March 2
(at highest remaining seed)
Game 7: Game 6 winner vs. Game 3 winner (7:00 PM)
Game 8: Game 5 winner vs. Game 4 winner (7:00 PM)
Championship // Sunday, March 5
(at highest remaining seed)
Game 9: Game 8 winner vs. Game 7 winner (1:00 PM)
How It Happened (First Quarter)
- Four points from Martin got Merrimack off to a 6-2 start, but four unanswered points from the Setters tied the game with 5:01 left in the frame.
- Sophomore Lindsay Werner (Groton, Mass.) came off the bench and knocked down a triple, starting an 8-2 Merrimack run that ended with a trey out of the hand of senior My’Asia Alston (Cohoes, N.Y.). The run made it a 14-8 contest late in the quarter, and the Warriors took a 16-10 lead into the second. Martin finished with eight points in the first
How It Happened (Second Quarter)
- The first 4:10 of the quarter saw the Setters embark on a 12-2 run that gave the hosts their first lead of the night at 22-18. Davis-Stewart and sophomore Hannah Neild (Litchfield, N.H.) collected five straight points to immediately put Merrimack in front, 23-22, with 5:21 left
- The final five minutes saw the lead change hands on four occasions before a triple from Neild made it a 32-28 game with 41 seconds left. The Setters canned a 3-pointer of their own to make it 32-31 entering the third quarter
How It Happened (Third Quarter)
- Martin scored four straight points at the start of the quarter followed by lay-ins from Davis-Stewart and sophomore Karlee Alves (Ellington, Conn.). After Pace pulled within seven, 42-35, Neild spotted up from distance to make it a 45-35 game with 6:02 remaining
- With 2:03 to go and after Pace cut the deficit to eight, Martin once again scored four straight to make it a 51-39 game with 73 seconds left. The Warriors capped off the third-quarter surge with a buzzer-beating layup from Davis-Stewart
How It Happened (Fourth Quarter)
- The Setters got as close as eight points in the fourth quarter after a Jackie Dellisanti layup at the 5:20 mark. Martin – the Warriors’ answer all night – hit her final field goal of the night 13 seconds later to start an 8-0 run that gave the Warriors a 63-47 lead with just 2:18 remaining in the game
Inside The Numbers
- Martin scored in double figures for the third straight game, and fell one point shy of her season high in points. She shot 8-of-14 from the field, tying her season high for made field goals. Her nine rebounds were her most in over one month, after she entered the game with eight boards over her last four games
- On the heels of her NE10 All-Rookie selection, Davis-Stewart was a force in the post for the Warriors. It marked her eighth game in double figures scoring-wise, while she pulled down at least 10 caroms for the 10th time in her first season
- The Warriors held the Setters to 31.8 percent shooting while Merrimack shot 40 percent from the field. The Warriors got to the free-throw line 12 times compared to just six trips to the charity stripe for Pace
- Neild finished with 13 points off the bench and led Merrimack with three 3-pointers, as the Warriors made five in total on the night
- Christina Rubin led all scorers with 20 points off the bench for Pace, making seven field goals and five treys
Merrimack advances to the NE10 Quarterfinals on Sunday where the Warriors meet top-seeded and No.15/17 Bentley University for a 3 p.m. contest in Waltham, Mass.