North Andover, Mass. (December 7) -- Leading by just one at the half, Assumption used an early second-half run to extend the lead as the Hounds went on to defeat Merrimack College by a 76-66 final in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action on Saturday afternoon. Assumption is receiving votes in the USA Today Sports Division II National Poll for the fourth straight week.
The Hounds used six early points from senior Shannon Ray (Yonkers, N.Y./Ursuline Academy) to jump out to a quick 13-6 lead before a 9-1 Merrimack run put the Warriors in front for the first time at 15-14 with 6:12 left. Merrimack led by as many as five at 26-21 with under two minutes remaining, but the Hounds eventually took a 29-28 edge into the half despite shooting 28.1 percent from the field in the period. Freshman Allison Stoddard (East Lyme, Conn./East Lyme) led the Hounds with 12 first half points, including seven that came in the final 1:56 of the opening half.
Assumption came out firing in the second half, trailing just once early in the period. The Hounds stretched the lead into double figures at 49-39 with 10:16 left following a backdoor layup by sophomore Kelly Conley (Ellington, Conn./Ellington) off a pass from junior Caitlin Ackerman (Nashua, N.H./Nashua South). Merrimack clawed its way back to within three at 63-60 with 4:38 left after a three from the top of key by Shelby Secor, but the Hounds pushed the advantage back to seven behind four quick points from Ray. Assumption led by at least five over the rest of the game as the Hounds picked up their second win in the last three games.
Ray led all scorers with 24 points to go along with a team-high five assists as the Hounds had four players in double figures. Stoddard finished with 12, along with 11 from senior Tafanie Roye (New Britain, Conn./Central Prep Magnet) and 10 from Conley. The Hounds shot 56 percent from the field in the second half while knocking down 19 free throws to key the victory.
Michelle Obach led the Warriors with 23 points, along with 10 points from Chloe Rothman.
With the win, the Hounds improve to 5-4 overall and 2-4 in Northeast-10 play, while Merrimack drops to 3-5 overall and 1-4 in the league.
Assumption is back in action on Tuesday, December 10th as the Hounds host Southern New Hampshire University for a 5:30 p.m. start at Laska Gym.
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