Women’s Hoops: St. Mike’s Fights Off Bridgeport Comeback, Takes 75-65 Win

Courtesy St. Michael’s Sports Information

COLCHESTER — Behind senior Brianna Purcell’s (Bedford, N.H./Bedford) second triple-double of the year, the Saint Michael’s College women’s basketball team held off the University of Bridgeport, 75-65, on Monday in the Ross Sports Center during a match-up between the only Purple Knights in the NCAA.

· Saint Michael’s (6-3), Bridgeport (3-9)

· Senior Brianna Purcell (Bedford, N.H./Bedford), 16 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 steals
· Senior Taylor Miller (Falmouth, Mass./Falmouth), 18 points, 15 rebounds, 2 blocks
· Junior Nicole Anderson (Kittery Point, Maine/Marianapolis Prep), 15 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists
· Sophomore Emma MacDonough (South Burlington, Vt./South Burlington), 10 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals
· Senior Cassandra Falone (Chatham, N.J./Chatham), 7 points, 3-for-5 field goals

· Junior Alyzae Davis, 17 points
· Senior Jaqualah Holliman, 15 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals
· Junior Samirah Henderson, 7 points, 4 assists
· First-year Dakota Adams, 9 rebounds

· Saint Michael’s used a 28-9 second quarter to turn an eight-point contest into a 27-point lead by halftime. The Purple and Gold shot 55.0 percent in the stanza while holding the visitors to a 1-for-17 showing.
· By yielding 19 points in the first 20 minutes, Saint Michael’s allowed fewer than 20 points in a half for the second time this season, having surrendered just 11 points to Felician (N.J.) University during the first half on Nov. 16.
· Saint Michael’s held a 54-42 rebounding advantage while assisting 19 of its 26 baskets. Despite committing 18 turnovers to the visitors’ 17, the Purple and Gold posted a 22-12 lead in points off of turnovers, the difference in the game.
· Purcell is the first Northeast-10 Conference player with multiple triple-doubles in a season since Merrimack College’s Tia Scott posted two in 2015-16. Purcell moved into a tie with Shyla Osmond of Division III Albertus Magnus College for the national lead among all NCAA Division I, II and III players.
· Purcell collected her first career triple-double on Nov. 8 against Wilmington (Del.) University, with 12 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists. In her most recent game before today, she narrowly missed another, totaling 16 points, nine rebounds and 12 assists in 26 minutes against Vermont Technical College.
· Purcell entered the game first among all NCAA Division I, II and III players in assists per game (8.9), slightly better than Sabrina Ionescu (8.7) of Division I University of Oregon and Renee Stimpert (8.7) of Division II counterpart Ashland (Ohio) University.
· Purcell pushed her career assist total to 350, passing Saint Michael’s Athletic Hall of Famer Kathy O’Neil ’81 (349) for eighth in program history.
· Saint Michael’s returned to action for the first time in nine days, having not played during final exams last week.
· The Purple and Gold is now 8-2 in the all-time series, with 10 contests decided by 10 points or fewer.

· Davis knocked down a jumper 48 seconds into the contest for the first points before Saint Michael’s countered with the next 14 points, with Anderson and Miller both scoring four points and Purcell handing out three assists while adding a basket, as each starter had points in the run.
· Bridgeport didn’t score again until sophomore Gianna Gotti’s driving lay-up at 2:36 of the opening period, as the visitors used an 8-4 run down the stretch, keyed by four points from Holliman, to rally within 18-10 by the end of the stanza.
· During a 6-0 run that began the second period, Anderson assisted hoops by MacDonough and senior Alyssa Breunig (Trumbull, Conn./Trumbull) before converting a Purcell pass for a lay-in that pushed the lead to 14 by 6:42.
· Anderson’s triple made it 32-16 with 4:43 to go before first-year Stephanie McBride’s two freebies again produced a 14-point margin, but the hosts scored the next 12 points to forge ahead by a 44-18 count with 1:15 left. Falone netted seven of the points, and Saint Michael’s led by 27 at halftime.
· Miller knocked down two free throws at 7:19 of the third quarter to extend the lead to a game-high 28 (52-24), and senior Casey Evans’ (Londonderry, N.H./Saint Andrew’s School) grabbed a defensive rebound before connecting on a freebie at four seconds to keep Saint Michael’s up 58-38 heading into the final quarter.
· As part of a 30-8 run that carried over from the third period, Bridgeport began the fourth stanza on a 20-4 run. Davis, Holliman and junior Janiece Loney combined to score the first 17 points before Henderson’s three cut the deficit to 62-58 with 4:35 to go.
· Miller and Adams traded buckets, leaving Bridgeport within 64-60 with less than two minutes to go, but Miller made a big play by crashing for an offensive rebound and getting fouled at 1:50. She canned the ensuing two free throws, kicking off a game-clinching 10-0 run that carried until 41 seconds remained. Saint Michael’s shot 8-for-8 from the charity stripe in that time, with Miller and Purcell both scoring four points.

· Wednesday vs. Assumption College, 5:30 p.m.