Fresh off its 43-point second half that delivered another comeback victory, the fourth-seeded Merrimack College women’s basketball team continues its run in the Northeast-10 Conference Championship on Sunday afternoon when Merrimack travels to Syracuse, N.Y. to challenge top-seeded and Southwest Division champion Le Moyne College. The Dolphins are also receiving votes in both the national coaches and media polls. Tip-off in the quarterfinal round from Ted Grant Court is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Both programs are also ranked among the top 10 in the most recent NCAA Division II East Region poll as conducted by the NCAA Regional Advisory Committee. Merrimack arrived at No. 9 while the Dolphins were ranked No. 4. The top-eight finishers at season’s end reach the NCAA Tournament, featuring three automatic qualifiers from the East Coast Conference, NE10 and Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference as well as five at-large selections.
Five Things to Know:
- Similar to Tuesday’s regular season finale, the Warriors begin the third quarter of Friday night’s NE10 First Round tilt vs. Southern Connecticut facing a first-half deficit. The program quickly erased that, using an 11-0 run to start the frame to take the lead for good and eventually won by 13. Four players scored in double figures including a team-high 18 points for senior Lindsay Werner, a double-double for junior Denia Davis-Stewart and 27 combined points for the duo of sophomore Mayson Kimball and freshman Kate Mager
- The Warriors’ victory marked their 20th of the season, becoming just the fourth team in school history to reach 20 wins and first in 14 years. Head coach Monique LeBlanc became just the second coach at Merrimack to guide the program to a 20-win campaign
- Merrimack’s NE10-leading offense enters Sunday averaging 73.3 points per game. The Warriors have hit a league-leading 247 3-pointers, which has obliterated the previous school record. Werner’s 70 treys lead the team and rank fourth in the NE10 while Mager’s 66 rank right behind her in fifth. The Warriors ranked 16th nationwide in triples entering Friday’s game
- Nationally, Davis-Stewart and senior Karlee Alves are among the nation’s statistical leaders in multiple areas (entering Friday’s game). The former ranks eighth in blocks per game (3.52), third in total blocks (102), 17th in rebounding (11.0/gm) and 20th in double-doubles (15). The latter is the Division II leader in assists (228), ranks third in assists per game (7.9), seventh in steals (88) and 10th in steals per game (3.00)
- Le Moyne’s season was headlined by a 14-game winning streak that lasted over two months. Merrimack was the only team to play a single-digit game (58-56) with the Dolphins during the streak. The Dolphins went 3-3 over their final six games of the season, however, including a loss in their most recent game at New Haven. Le Moyne boasts the top scoring defense in the NE10 and 17th nationwide at 55.7 points per game allowed
- All-Time Scoring – Werner currently sits 16th in school history in scoring (1,113 points), and needs 25 points to climb into the top 15 all-time. Her 190 career 3-pointers and 70 this season are also both school records
- Single-Season Assists – Alves will begin Sunday’s NE10 Quarterfinal ranking ninth in NE10 single-season history with 228 assists this year
- 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 35.4 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:
- With Merrimack ahead 56-50, the Dolphins closed the final three minutes of the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run to claim a 58-56 win
- Four players scored in double figures for Merrimack, led by 13 points for Kimball and 10 points each for Alves, Davis-Stewart and sophomore Alyssa Casey. Davis-Stewart added 11 boards
- Junior McKayla Roberts led the visitors with 23 points and 11 boards. The Dolphins received 16 points off the bench for Liz Millea