No. 14 Greyhounds Hold Off Saint Rose, Improve to 8-0
Worcester, Mass. (December 6) -- Holding off a furious Saint Rose rally in the second half, No. 14 ranked Assumption stayed unbeaten with a 63-60 victory over the Golden Knights on Tuesday evening at Laska Gym. The Hounds are now 8-0 overall and 6-0 in Northeast-10 play, which is the best start in Assumption women's basketball history.
The Greyhounds moved up three spots to No. 14 in the nation in this week's USA Today/ESPN Division II National Top 25 Poll and are one of three Northeast-10 teams in the national rankings. The team's No. 14 ranking ties the highest national ranking in school history.
"I think our intensity for 40 minutes was a difference tonight," said head coach Kerry Phayre. "We knew that Saint Rose was going to be ready to play tonight and we knew we had to bring our best effort."
Assumption held a 13-11 lead with 13:37 left in the first half before a 9-0 run, capped by a jumper from junior Katy Howard (Medway, Mass./Medway), extended the lead to double digits at 22-11 with 9:20 remaining. After back-to-back threes from Saint Rose cut the lead to 22-17, the Hounds built to their biggest lead of the half at 32-20. A pair of threes from Ashley Rath again made it a single-digit margin before Assumption took a 36-25 advantage in the halftime break.
A layup early in the second half by Sabrina Siciliano (Fairfield, Conn./Fairfield-Warde) gave the Hounds a 13-point advantage before Saint Rose embarked on a 10-2 run over the next six minutes to get to within 40-35 and force an Assumption timeout. Holding the Hounds to just three field goals over the first 10 minutes of the period, the Golden Knights tied the game at 42-42 on a pair of Rath free throws with exactly 10 minutes left.
Rath gave the Golden Knights their last lead of the game on a pullup jumper with 9:24 left for the 44-43 edge before Assumption answered. A 10-1 run, capped by a putback basket from Gabrielle Gibson (Amityville, N.Y./Copiague) gave the Hounds a 53-45 lead with 4:59 left. Assumption still held a seven-point lead with 2:36 left before Rath singlehandedly kept the Golden Knights in the game. A deep three with 25.5 seconds left got Saint Rose to within 58-55 and a bank-shot triple with 4.1 seconds remaining pulled the Golden Knights to within one at 61-60. A pair of Howard free throws with 2.1 left pushed the lead up to 63-60 and a Saint Rose pass in the final seconds was intercepted at midcourt by Kelly Meredith (Franklin, Mass./Franklin) to preserve the victory.
Howard was again solid for the Hounds as she tied for the team lead with 18 points, including a 7-for-8 showing at the free throw line. Over the last three games, Howard is 23-for-24 at the line, including a string of 20 straight free throws at one point.
Meredith finished the game with 18 points, which moved her into seventh place on the Greyhounds all-time career scoring list with 1,258 points, passing Kayla Parker '10 (1,253).
Rath led the Golden Knights with a career-high 36 points on 8-for-11 shooting from three-point land. Ali Johnson finished with a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double as well.
With the loss, Saint Rose drops to 6-2 overall and 4-2 in league play.
Assumption is now idle for 11 days before returning to action on Saturday, December 17th as the Hounds travel to Pleasantville, N.Y. to take on Pace University. That game is set for a 1:30 p.m. start at the Goldstein Center.