Home Women's Basketball Preview: Merrimack set to host first home playoff game since 2015

Preview: Merrimack set to host first home playoff game since 2015

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The Merrimack College women’s basketball program is primed to host the opening round of the Northeast-10 Conference Championship on Friday night, welcoming the Southern Connecticut State Owls to Hammel Court for a 7 p.m. tip-off. The contest will be Merrimack’s first home playoff game since the 2014-15 season, and fourth trip overall to the NE10 Championship over the last five years.

2019 NE10 Championship Schedule
First Round ­ Friday, March 1st
Game 1:  Southern Connecticut (No. 5 seed SW) at Merrimack (No. 4 seed NE) – 7:00 PM
Game 2:  Southern New Hampshire (No. 5 seed NE) at American International (No. 4 seed SW) – 7:00 PM

Quarterfinals ­ Sunday, March 3rd:
Game 3:  Game 1 winner at Le Moyne (No. 1 seed SW) – 2:00 PM or 3:00 PM (To be confirmed upon release of the men’s bracket.)
Game 4:  Game 2 winner at Bentley (No. 1 seed NE) – 3:00 PM
Game 5:  Saint Anselm (No. 3 seed NE) at Adelphi (No. 2 seed SW) – 2:00 PM or 3:00 PM (To be confirmed upon release of the men’s bracket.)
Game 6:  New Haven (No. 3 seed SW) at Stonehill (No. 2 seed NE) – 3:00 PM

Semifinals ­ Thursday, March 7th (at highest remaining seeds):
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 10th (at highest remaining seed):
Game 9:  Game 8 winner vs. Game 7 winner (1:00 PM)

Promotions:

  • Free pizza will be distributed to all students in attendance courtesy of Mr. Takeout in Andover, Mass. Pizza is expected to arrive at 6:30 p.m., and will be served in the Hall of Fame lobby outside of Hammel Court

Five Things to Know:

  • The Warriors rallied from 18 points down in the third quarter, outscoring Saint Michael’s by 21 points over the night’s final 16 minutes to claim a 67-64 win over the Purple Knights on Tuesday. The win coupled with SNHU’s loss enabled Merrimack to claim the fourth seed in the Northeast Division and hosting duties for Friday’s opening round
  • Merrimack qualified for its fifth NE10 Championship under head coach Monique LeBlanc, four of which have come in the last five years. The Warriors have played in 37 NE10 Championship games over 26 years (12-25), reaching the league final three times and winning one NE10 Championship
  • The Warriors’ near-record pace offense enters Friday averaging a league-leading 73.3 points per game, which is just one point shy of the school record for scoring offense. Merrimack’s league-leading 3-point attack features 239 makes from beyond the arc, which ranks 13th nationwide. Senior Lindsay Werner has hit a team-leading 66, while freshman Kate Mager is right behind her with 63 triples. Mager hit a career-high six on Tuesday at Saint Michael’s
  • Nationally, junior Denia Davis-Stewart and senior Karlee Alves are among the nation’s statistical leaders in multiple areas. The former ranks eighth in blocks per game (3.46), third in total blocks (97), 17th in rebounding (11.0/gm) and 20th in double-doubles (14). The latter is the Division II leader in assists (218), ranks third in assists per game (7.8), seventh in steals (84) and 10th in steals per game (3.00)
  • Southern Connecticut owns a .500 mark (14-14) entering Friday’s tilt, including a win over Merrimack in the season’s previous meeting. The Owls are led by junior Kiana Steinauer – the nation’s leader in rebounds (15.2/gm) and double-doubles (22). SCSU lost eight of its last 10 games to close the team, but topped Pace in overtime to claim its regular season finale on Saturday

Record Watch

  • All-Time Scoring – Werner currently sits 16th in school history in scoring (1,095 points), and needs 42 points to climb into the top 15 all-time. She also sits on 186 career 3-pointers, needing four more to set a new school record
  • Single-Season Assists – Alves enters the conference tournament tied for 15th in NE10 single-season history in terms of helpers, boasting 218 total
  • Team Records – In addition to a potential new single-season scoring mark, Merrimack is hitting 3-pointers at a school-record pace. The Warriors are currently making 35.6 percent of their treys, which is on track to break the 03-04 percentage (34.7) as the best in school history

Regular Season Rewind:

  • Southern Conn. won by one point, 70-69, in the school’s first meeting back in January. Merrimack scored 48 combined points between the first and fourth quarters, but were outscored by 18 in the middle frames that proved to be the difference
  • Davis-Stewart totaled 19 points and 20 rebounds, one of two 20-board games this year for the junior. Werner and Alves combined for 33 points, as well
  • Four Owls scored in double figures led by 19 for Steinauer. Senior Amanda Pfohl sank five 3-pointers to lead all players

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