NYACK, N.Y. – Paced by a program record team shooting percentage, the Saint Anselm College women's basketball team cruised past Mercy (N.Y.) College by an 84-57 margin on Monday. The Hawks shot a combined .639 (39-for-61) from the floor, the highest mark in the team's 41-year history, on the way to the victory.
Saint Anselm improves to 4-2 on the season while Mercy dips to 2-4 following the non-league contest. The Hawks host Southern New Hampshire University in a 5:30 p.m. contest on Wednesday, Nov. 29. The Northeast-10 Conference game will honor the late Jen Gureckis '11 and the organization created in her memory.
The Hawks were led by 27 points from sophomore Shannon Ryan, who also led the team in rebounding by picking up 10 caroms. Senior captain Clairee Putnam scored 11 points for Saint Anselm while freshman Peyton Steinman put home nine points in 16 minutes off the bench. Ryan contributed defensively, recording five blocks.
Saint Anselm scored 60 of its 84 points in the paint and scored 17 points off of Mercy turnovers. Twelve players saw the floor for Saint Anselm as 10 different Hawks recorded at least three points. Kaitlyn Petrocelli posted eight points in 11 minutes off the bench and Grace Guachione tallied five points in 13 minutes of action.
The previous team record for highest field goal percentage was set on Jan. 11, 1983 against American International – the Hawks made 38-of-60 baskets, converting at a .633 clip. Last season, Saint Anselm set the team record for three-point field goals against the Mavericks as Emma Daly bombed nine treys in a convincing 99-57 win.
A seven point scoring run in the first quarter propelled the Hawks to a 13-5 lead as Putnam sandwiched a free throw and a layup from Ryan with layups of her own to create the early advantage. Ryan potted seven of her team's 13 points during the opening stretch of play and a stout Hawks defense limited Mercy to only two made field goals.
A three-pointer by Cynthia Perez would cut the Hawks lead to 19-18 only 11 seconds into the second quarter, but the Hawks would counter by scoring 10 straight points to capture a commanding 29-18 lead following a Glennon layup with 3:24 left to go in the first half.
The first half lead would grow as large as 16 points for Saint Anselm with 1:13 left in the second quarter. The Hawks would end up shooting nearly 60% from the floor, including 16-of-22 shots inside the arc, as Putnam and Ryan were a combined 12-for-17.
Saint Anselm made just under 69% of their second half field goals, converting 22-of-32 shots as Ryan was a perfect 6-for-6 from the floor en route to 12 points in the final 20 minutes. Scoring runs of seven and six points helped the Hawks grow the lead to a game-high 32 points with 33 seconds left in regulation time following a Steinman layup, set up by Jenoyce Laniyan.