Women's Basketball Holds Off Saint Michael’s in NE10 Opener, 74-66

Carter and Santoro combine for 41 points, Reuter notches double-double for Skyhawks

Carter sparked the Skyhawks big opening quarter with nine points on her way to a team-high 21 (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)

EASTON, Mass. (November 23, 2019) – Stonehill College, receiving votes in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II poll and ranked No. 5 in the D2SIDA East Region poll, opened a 19-point lead in the first quarter on 55.6-percent shooting, on its way to a 74-66 victory over Saint Michael's College in its Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball opener and open its Merkert Gymnasium slate on Paula Sullivan Court this afternoon.

Senior Grace Carter and sophomore Isabella Santoro combined for 41 points to lead Stonehill to the win, while senior Gabrielle Reuter notched her first double-double of the season (third career). Carter scored 15 of her team-high 21 points in the first half, including nine in the first quarter, on 6-of-15 shooting, including 5-for-13 from three-point distance, in posting her fourth career 20-point outing, to go with two rebounds, two assists and two steals. Santoro netted 14 of her career-high matching 20 points in the second half, also matching career-bests with nine rebounds and four assists, while Reuter contributed 13 points on 6-of-15 shooting, a game and season-high 11 rebounds (six offensive), and season-best four assists.

Sophomore Emily Bramanti rounded out Stonehill's double-figure scorers with a season-high 12 points, including eight in the second quarter, on 4-of-6 shooting, including 2-for-3 from long distance, and converting both free-throw tries to go with a career-best seven rebounds and two steals. Classmate Sophie Glidden chipped in with eight rebounds as the Skyhawks recorded a 49-28 rebounding advantage, outscoring Saint Michael's 18-2 for second chance points as a result of their 19 offensive boards.

Junior Nicole Anderson netted a game-high 26 points to lead Saint Michael's, connecting on 10-of-19 shots, including 6-for-14 from three-point distance, with four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Sophomore Emma McDonough was the only other Purple Knight in double-figures with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including both three-pointers, with three rebounds and three assists, while senior Taylor Miller totaled nine points and six rebounds.

Santoro matched career-highs with 20 points, nine rebounds and four assists (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)

Stonehill used a 20-2 run, including a string of 15-straight points, to turn a one-point lead (8-7) after an Anderson three-pointer less than four minutes into the game to a 19-point advantage (28-9) following a Bramanti triple with a minute to play in the opening quarter. The Skyhawks made 10-of-18 shots (55-6-percent) in the first, including 4-for-8 from three (50%), while limiting Saint Michael's to 5-of-15 (33.3%) from the floor. Carter led the way for Stonehill with nine points, hitting 3-of-4 threes, while Santoro chipped in six.

Saint Michael's would actually outscore Stonehill in each of the remaining three quarters of play, but the Skyhawks were able to ride the big first quarter to victory. Carter gave Stonehill a game-high 20-point lead (36-16) with a three-pointer three minutes into the second quarter. The Skyhawks lead was still 19 (45-26) after another Carter triple with 2:19 remaining in the half, before the Purple Knights scored nine of the last 11 points in the frame, getting three-pointers from Anderson, senior Cassandra Falone and McDonough, to draw back within 12 (47-35) at the intermission.

Saint Michael's started the third quarter strong, pulling within six (51-45) with a Miller jumper midway through. Stonehill responded with seven-straight on baskets by Bramanti, Carter and Santoro, who also added a free-throw, to reclaim a 13-point lead (60-47) before MacDonough capped the quarter with a three as the Skyhawks carried a ten-point cushion into the final quarter.

Saint Michael's started strong again, closing to within two (60-58) with 7:46 still to play, by scoring the first eight points of the fourth, including four from Anderson. Neither team scored for two minutes until Carter drained two free throws to quiet the run, but Anderson drilled a three to pull the Purple Knights within a point (62-61) midway through the fourth. The teams traded baskets as Saint Michael's wasn't able to wrestle the lead away from the hosts as the Skyhawks were able to close out the win but converting 6-of-7 free-throws in the final two minutes to offset 3-for-12 shooting in the closing ten minutes.

Stonehill (4-1, 1-0 NE10) is back in action on Tuesday, when it visits rival Bentley University, also receiving votes in the WBCA poll and also ranked No. 5 in the region, for an NE10 matchup at 5:30 p.m. The Skyhawks return to Merkert Gym on Wednesday, December 4, to host Franklin Pierce University at 5:30 p.m. Saint Michael's (4-2, 0-2 NE10) is off until December 4 when it hosts Southern New Hampshire University at 5:30 p.m.

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