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Strong Second Half Sends Women’s Basketball Past Sacred Heart, 70-61

Links: Box Score

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Merrimack College women’s basketball team outscored Sacred Heart University, 40-29, in the second half on Thursday evening, charging past the Pioneers for a 70-61 Northeast Conference (NEC) win at the William H. Pitt Center. The triumph gave the Warriors their first road win of the season, and improved their NEC record to 4-10 on the year. Sacred Heart dropped to 8-9 (8-7 NEC).

Merrimack utilized a balanced offensive attack against SHU, seeing multiple players lead the team across the duration of the game. Senior Alyssa Casey and sophomore Diamond Christian combined for 22 of the team’s 30 first-half points. Freshman Teneisia Brown paired with senior Mayson Kimball to net 15 of the team’s 26 third-quarter points, and junior Kate Mager brought Merrimack to the finish line by scoring 10 of the Warriors’ 14 points in the fourth quarter.

On the other end, Merrimack’s defense was pivotal in the victory as well. Over the final two quarters, Merrimack forced Sacred Heart into nine turnovers in addition to holding the hosts to 1-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc. The defensive effort also saw the Pioneers miss 14 of their final 18 shot attempts overall.

The Basics
Score: Merrimack 70, Sacred Heart 61
Records: Merrimack (4-10, 4-10 NEC) | Sacred Heart (8-9, 8-7 NEC)
Location: Fairfield, Conn. | William H. Pitt Center

Rapid Recap

  • Merrimack’s first three made shots from the game were from beyond the arc, including two for Christian. The Pioneers answered a 9-3 start to the game for the Warriors with a 9-0 run, but Casey hit consecutive field goals to put the visitors in front, 13-12, at the 4:21 mark of the first quarter. Sacred Heart held a slight lead after 10 minutes, 20-18, despite nine first-quarter points from Casey
  • Both offenses were quiet in the second quarter as each team scored 12 points apiece in the 10 minutes that preceded halftime. Down 28-22 with 5:34 remaining until the end of the quarter, Merrimack fought back to tie the game at 30-all with less than a minute to play. Senior Autumn Truesdale scored to start the run, Brown converted a three-point play and Casey added the final three points of the burst to tie the contest. The Pioneers hit one more field goal in the last minute to maintain their two-point lead at the half
  • Trailing 36-30, Merrimack went on a 12-2 run to nab a 42-38 lead by the 6:08 mark of the third quarter. The duo of Brown and Kimball then scored 11 of the team’s final 14 points of the quarter, which saw the Warriors lead by as many as seven points approaching the end of the period. The Warriors held a 56-50 edge going to final 10 minutes
  • Via holding the Pioneers to 11 fourth-quarter points and timely shooting from Mager, the Warriors never trailed in the final frame. Merrimack did see an eight-point lead dip to four points, but the junior shooting guard hit a triple with 5:16 to play to bring the advantage up to seven points, 63-56. The Pioneers climbed back within four points, 65-61, with under three minutes to play, but Mager answered with another trey to make it a 68-61 contest with 1:34 on the clock. Sacred Heart did not score over the final 2:51 of the ball game as Merrimack closed out the victory

Notes and Numbers

  • Mager enjoyed her most efficient scoring effort of the year, shooting 63.6 percent from the field (7-11) for a team-high 19 points. She added a trio of 3-pointers, the seventh time this season that she has made at least three in a game
  • Casey scored a season-high 18 points, 14 of which came in the first half. She added a team-best seven rebounds. The senior also needs just 20 points to reach 1,000 for her career
  • Christian’s 13 points marked the fifth time this season that the sophomore guard has scored in double figures
  • Freshman Grace Clary played in the second quarter, making her collegiate debut
  • Merrimack held Sacred Heart to 38.7 percent shooting and 20.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc
  • The Warriors’ bench outscored Sacred Heart’s, 28-16

Up Next
The Warriors face the Pioneers one more time at the William H. Pitt Center tomorrow night at 7 p.m.  

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