NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Merrimack College women’s basketball team started Wednesday’s game at Southern Connecticut with nine unanswered points and owned an 11-point lead after the end of the first quarter, but the host Owls overcame the early deficit and held on late for a 70-69 Northeast-10 Conference victory from the Moore Field House. Merrimack fell to 9-6 with the loss while Southern Connecticut improved to 10-5 with the win.
The matchup was Merrimack’s first against the Southwest Division, starting a seven-game run against foes from the NE10’s opposite side. Merrimack faced an eight-point deficit the majority of the fourth quarter, only to hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final 10 seconds that trimmed its deficit to as little as one. Freshman Kate Mager sank a trey as time expired, but needed to be fouled for a chance to tie the game. Junior Denia Davis-Stewart led the way for the visitors with a double-double of 19 points and 20 rebounds.
Score: Southern Connecticut 70, Merrimack 69
Records: Merrimack (9-6, 2-6 NE10) | Southern Connecticut (10-5, 4-3 NE10)
Location: Moore Field House | New Haven, Conn.
- Merrimack raced out the gates, jumping out to a 9-0 lead less than two minutes into the game behind two 3-pointers from senior Lindsay Werner. The Owls worked back within seven, 14-7, with under three minutes to play to prompt a Merrimack timeout. The visitors emerged for the stoppage with four quick points from Werner and sophomore Mayson Kimball, and ended the first quarter ahead by 11, 20-9
- The Owls turned the tide in the second quarter, starting the frame on a 15-3 run to take a 24-23 advantage. After Merrimack went down, the Warriors immediately answered with another Werner triple to snatch the lead back. The contest was closed for the remainder of the half, with Merrimack’s lead never rising above four, and the visitors entered the locker room with a two-point advantage, 33-31
- The hosts started the second half with eight unanswered points, taking a 39-33 lead. Southern Connecticut’s defense held Merrimack to eight points overall in the frame, and surged forward to outscore Merrimack by nine in the quarter. The Owls led by seven, 48-41, to begin the fourth
- Senior Karlee Alves and Davis-Stewart kept Merrimack in the contest throughout the second half, and both had strong starts to the fourth quarter to keep the visitors within striking distance. Trailing 66-58 with less than two minutes to go, Alves completed a steal-and-score to bring Merrimack within six
- The Warriors faced a five-point hole (68-63) when the Owls only hit 1-of-2 at the stripe to go up six. Werner proceeded to hit a triple with five seconds left, and Merrimack fouled again facing a 69-66 deficit. The Owls missed their first free-throw attempt, but hit the second to make it 70-66 and leaving Merrimack needing a miracle. Mager proceeded to hit the final-second trey, but was not fouled on the play to leave the Warriors one point short
Notes and Numbers
- For the second time in three games, Davis-Stewart posted a 20-rebound effort. She added a game-high tying 19 points for her team-leading sixth double-double of the season. Additionally, the center has four double-doubles over her last six games
- Davis-Stewart became just the fourth player nationwide this season with multiple 20-rebound games. She now is averaging 10.5 rebounds to go along with 11.3 points per game this year
- Alves (15) posted her second highest scoring output of the season. Werner (18) also finished in double figures, hitting a team-best four 3-pointers
- Turnovers proved pivotal in the final result. Merrimack committed 19, leading to 23 Southern points; the Warriors forced 12 Owls turnovers, but only scored six points off them
- Merrimack posted shooting splits of .424/.321/.571; the Warriors only attempted seven free throws, however. The Owls won despite shooting just 36.1 percent from the field. Both teams hit nine triples on the night
- Junior Kiana Steinauer mirrored Davis-Stewart with a 19-point, 20-rebounds performance. Steinauer entered the night as the nation’s leading rebounder at 16.2 per contest
Merrimack returns home for the first time in three weeks, hosting Pace University for a 1 p.m. tip-off from Hammel Court.