Friday, November 19, 2010

Merrimack Glides Past Slippery Rock and Into the Courtyard by Marriott Trophy Match, 87-69

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass.- The Merrimack women’s basketball team sealed its first victory of the 2010-11 campaign, downing Slippery Rock 87-69 Friday evening at Volpe Gym. The Warriors improved to 1-1 overall with the win while the Rock falls to 0-2.

Five players tallied 10 or more points in the contest. Senior co-captain Sarah Benischek (Shrub Oak, N.Y.) paced all scorers with 21 and added six assists and three rebounds. Kelly Schatzlein (Tolland, Conn.) came up one board short of a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds. Gennifer Roy (Granby, Mass.) pitched in 16 points as well for Merrimack.

Merrimack came out firing as they jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the opening minutes. The home team did not allow a bucket until 4:19 into the game. The Warriors clung to a double-digit margin throughout the first half and lead by as many as 21 at one point.

The Warriors held a 20-point edge at the half, leading Slippery Rock 45-25. Tiffany Colon (Lawrence, Mass.) drained four three-pointers in the opening period and had 15 to her credit at the break.

Merrimack maintained the pressure in the second half as it didn’t allow the Rock to get within striking distance.

With 14:29 on the clock, Benischek nailed a trey to push the Warriors’ advantage to 29 by putting the home side up 63-34.

A jumper from Danielle Smith brought the visitors as close as they would come to knotting the score, cutting the deficit to 16 points.  A layup by Chelsea Shea (South Burlington, Vt.) extended the Merrimack lead back to 18 and the Warriors cruised to the win.

The Blue and Gold shot 48.5% from the court and 40% from behind the three-point arc. The Rock owned a field goal percentage of 47.1 on the night and a 52% three-point percentage.

Merrimack was dominant inside the paint, scoring 36 points and limiting Slippery Rock to 18. The Warriors also owned the glass, pulling down 41 boards while the Rock managed just 30.

Day two of the Courtyard by Marriott Classic will be held Saturday November 20. Slippery Rock will face Shepherd in the consolation game at 1 p.m. Host Merrimack and No. 10 Indianapolis will square off for the title at 3 p.m.

No. 10 Indianapolis got a scare by Shepherd in the first contest of the day. The Rams erased an 18-point halftime deficit in the second half. The Hounds managed to pull off an 82-71 victory to earn a spot in tomorrow’s title tilt.

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