GARDEN CITY, N.Y. – The Saint Anselm College women's basketball team picked up an 85-81 victory over the host Panthers from Adelphi University on Sunday in the Northeast-10 Conference Quarterfinals.
With the win, the third-seeded Saint Anselm team improves to 19-8 on the year while the second-seeded Panthers fall to 15-13 on the season. The Hawks move on to the NE10 Semifinals and will play the top-seeded team in the Northeast Division, nationally-ranked Bentley University, on Thursday, Mar. 7 at 7 p.m. in Waltham, Mass.
Junior Shannon Ryan (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) posted 29 points and a career-high 21 rebounds against Adelphi. Her rebound total was the seventh-best single game total in program history and the most since Megan Howard '11 posted 24 rebounds against NYIT on Nov. 12, 2011. During the regular season, Ryan posted a 30-point, 20-rebound performance at Adelphi.
Sophomore Grace Guachione (Pittsfield, Mass.) scored 18 points off the bench and had a career-high nine rebounds. Junior Sara Messler (Durham, N.H.) posted 13 points and senior Ashley Briggs (Scarborough, Maine) made two three-point baskets, finishing with career highs in points (10) and rebounds (seven). Freshman Eva Mazur (South Portland, Maine) tied Briggs for the team lead in assists with four.
The Hawks jumped ahead with a 15-6 lead after the opening 10 minutes. Saint Anselm stymied the hosts on offense, yielding only three made baskets on 16 attempts while Messler scored eight of her team's 15 points. Saint Anselm was also paced by seven rebounds by Ryan as her squad held a convincing 18-to-10 edge in first quarter board play.
Saint Anselm allowed only three made field goals once again in the second quarter, outscoring the hosts by a 24-to-10 margin leading up to halftime. Ryan had 12 points alone in the second quarter, making six of her seven field goal attempts, with Guachione pouring home two three's and securing a period-high six rebounds. The Hawks led at the break by a 39-16 margin and outrebounded Adelphi to that point, 37-to-19.
Adelphi turned the tables in the second half, making things interesting after the Hawks built up a game-high lead of 27 points after a Briggs jumper with 16:51 left in regulation time. The Panthers scored 41 of the game's next 62 points after the Briggs trey, trimming the Saint Anselm lead to seven points, 68-61, with 2:40 left in regulation time.
Briggs slowed the hosts' momentum with a another clutch three-point basket with 2:07 to go, but Adelphi would not go down without a fight. Despite a 12 point Saint Anselm lead with 98 seconds left on the scoreboard, the Panthers went on a 15-to-6 scoring run to cut their deficit to only three points, 84-81, with 19 seconds left in the game.
When the smoke cleared, Adelphi scored 44 points in the final 10 minutes, but Guachione had the biggest point of the quarter. The sophomore made a clutch free throw with 16 seconds left to establish a four-point lead, eliminating the possibility of a three-point buzzer beater.
The Hawks shot 43.1% from the floor, including 60% in the fourth quarter (6-for-10), while the Panthers finished the game with a 35.7% field goal percentage. Saint Anselm held the edge in overall rebounding, 53-to-35, while controlling the offensive glass with 17 rebounds after Hawks misses.